Healthcare Summit Given Little Chance Of Breaking Logjam
Reporting on the upcoming White House summit on healthcare reform, McClatchy (2/10, Lightman) says that “analysts” are not expecting it “to thaw the bitter political climate that’s stalled legislation for months…not least because Republicans remain wary of the plan.” McClatchy cites comments along those lines by Ross Baker, “an expert on Congress at Rutgers University.” In a similar piece, titled “No High Hopes For Health Care Summit,” Politico (2/9, Brown, O’Connor) reports that “immediately after President Barack Obama announced” his “bipartisan…summit, Democrats and Republicans made clear they have almost no expectation the half-day meeting can break a bitter yearlong standoff.”
The Hill (2/10, O’Brien), meanwhile, reports that the President yesterday denied “the notion that an upcoming healthcare summit would be little more than ‘political theater.'” Said Obama, “I want a substantive discussion.” Responding to GOP demands that he scrap the bill passed by House and Senate, Obama added, “I am going to be starting from scratch in the sense that I will be open to any ideas that help promote these goals. … What I will not do, what I don’t think makes sense and I don’t think the American people want to see, would be another year of partisan wrangling around these issues.” The Washington Times (2/10, Rowland) runs a similar report under the headline “Obama Rejects Starting Over On Health Care.”
Potential GOP Proposals For Summit Outlined. Newt Gingrich and John C. Goodman, CEO of the National Center for Policy Analysis, offer in a Wall Street Journal op-ed (2/10, subscription required) a set of 10 Republican ideas for discussion at the summit. Among them are tort reform, measures to curtail healthcare fraud, tax credits to deduct insurance costs, portability, aid to early retirees and measures to avoid Medicare cuts.
Dick Morris, meanwhile, writes in The Hill (2/10) that Obama “has so lowered expectations for the Republican Party that if they come to the healthcare summit he has called at the White House with concrete and well-articulated proposals, it will blow the country away.” Morris adds that Republicans should champion tort reform as the “cost-cutting part of the healthcare summit.” Morris also urges GOP lawmakers to “attack,” among other aspects of the Democratic measures, “the proposed cuts in Medicare,” and “criticize the individual mandate as unconstitutional and paint a vivid picture of how much it will cost young families.”
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