The President Proposes a Bipartisan Summit on Health Care

President Obama has proposed holding a bipartisan summit on February 25th at the White House in the hopes of restarting the now seemingly sidetracked health care reform packages. The event would be televised presumably on C-Span but perhaps as well by the cable news networks.

The story in the New York Times:

Mr. Obama made the announcement in an interview on CBS during the Super Bowl pre-game show, capitalizing on a vast television audience. He set out a plan that would put Republicans on the spot to offer their own ideas on health care and show whether both sides are willing to work together.

“I want to come back and have a large meeting, Republicans and Democrats, to go through systematically all the best ideas that are out there and move it forward,” Mr. Obama said in the interview from the White House Library.

Mr. Obama challenged Republicans to attend the meeting with their plans for lowering the cost of health insurance and expanding coverage to more than 30 million uninsured Americans. Republican leaders said they welcomed the opportunity and called on Democrats to start the debate from scratch, which the president said he would not do.

The move by Mr. Obama comes after weeks in which the administration has appeared uncertain about how to proceed on his top domestic priority since Republicans captured the Senate seat previously held by Senator Edward M. Kennedy. House and Senate Democrats had been increasingly at odds over what the bill should say, how to move ahead tactically and, in some cases, whether to continue at all.

The idea for the bipartisan meeting, set for Feb. 25, was reached in recent weeks, aides said, as part of the White House strategy to intensify its push to engage Congressional Republicans in policy negotiations, share the burden of governing and put more scrutiny on Republican initiatives.

I personally prefer the combative Obama as opposed to the accommodating one so I am not sure what to make of this proposal. It seems that it runs the risk of endlessly extending an already tortuous process.

Tags: US Healthcare Reform, Obama Administration, Healthcare Summit (all tags)



sounds like a waste of time to me

I don't see what can be accomplished with a summit like this when Republicans are obviously not going to be negotiating in good faith.

by desmoinesdem 2010-02-08 08:10AM | 0 recs
Exactly the point

I think Obama is saying OK in from of the TV cameras with everybody in the room Republicans put up or shut up. Let's hear your ideas that are actually going to cover more Americans than the ideas already on the table. Let's hear your ideas that actually help drive down healthcare costs and can be scored as to doing so. 


The Republicans have been wanting this and now they've got it. I think this may fall under the heading of be careful for what you ask for, you just may get it.

by jsfox 2010-02-08 10:09AM | 0 recs
RE: Exactly the point

The Republicans have already responded, saying Obama should start negotiating with them by shelving the bills that have already passed the House and Senate.!-

Clearly not interested in negotiating.

by desmoinesdem 2010-02-08 11:05AM | 0 recs
RE: Exactly the point

The Bills have been sheleved already. Neither one of them is going to become law unaltered.

I'm not sure what will result from this TV debate. I would prefer if Obama wasn't there and it was just the Congressional Dems and GOP (like what happens in Congress on CSPAN, golly!). OTOH maybe Obama feels he should be there to shut down the GOP claims of death-panels and killing grandma and whatever else, and make sure the GOP actually has a real proposal rather than sniping from the shadows.

by vecky 2010-02-08 02:03PM | 0 recs
Why does Obama still want to engage the GOP?

After a year of saying "NO" to Obama, does he really think these people are going to change?  NO WAY!!! These GOP'er just use these meetings with Obama to put him down and raise money from right-wing racist donors.   Obama needs to stop wasting his time and that of the people who need this healthcare reform.......I ask this "Did you ever remember G W Bush asking the Dems for anything or to play nice--NO!! he did what all rational Presidents do--he plowed ahead." Obama needs to run over these guys--throw the long ball and get the ball in the endzone -- I'm still a big Obama fan but this is a waste of time.....

by hddun2008 2010-02-08 09:09AM | 0 recs
RE: Why does Obama still want to engage the GOP?

It's PR...

by vecky 2010-02-08 02:04PM | 0 recs
RE: Why does Obama still want to engage the GOP?

An a big waste of time.  He probably should enroll in a time management class. I think we are on the track to lose the Senate in 2010 and perhaps the whole Congress in 2012 due to this dilly-dallying that he does will be the reason.....

by hddun2008 2010-02-08 09:12PM | 0 recs
RE: Why does Obama still want to engage the GOP?

Congress is doomed anyway - they've wasted most of their time. For example the Senate Bill passed on the 24th of Dec - Scott Brown was elected on the 20th of Jan - a whole 3 weeks in the interim and the House & Senate sat on their asses and did nothing. Now it's been 2 weeks since Browns victory and still nothing. They havn't even moved onto to other things like the jobs bill or Financial Regulation.

by vecky 2010-02-08 10:33PM | 0 recs
Not sure what to make of this

On the one hand, most independents have no idea how Congress works or to what degree the Repubs are holding things up.  So it would be good to demonstrate just how unreasonabe the Republicans are being.

On the other hand, most independents don't know about this because they honestly don't care.  They don't want to blame somebody for holding up Congress, they want Congress to find a way to work.

If this forces the Republicans to become serious about facing the problems with Health Care in this country, that's probably a good thing.  On the other hand, if it just devolves into more he-said, she-said nonsense, I suspect the gambit will have failed and Obama will bear a large part of the blame for it.

by the mollusk 2010-02-08 10:18AM | 0 recs
RE: Not sure what to make of this

I have my doubts that the currently uninterested/unegaged middle is going to suddenly turn around and delve into the policy differences between the Dems and GOP on HCR. The public responds to sound-bites and outragous claims which is why the Republicans keep lieing about death-panels and rationing and beauracrat-control and stuff like that. They do it becasue it works.

by vecky 2010-02-08 02:07PM | 0 recs
RE: Not sure what to make of this

True.  But if this session generates a few soundbytes of Obama explaining why they are completely nuts a la the meeting with Repubs at their winter retreat, then it'll work.  Also, there's a good chance the Repubs won't show up for the meeting at all.  I'm guessing a bunch of empty chairs with the names of Republicans printed on them would make a pretty cheap and effective campaign commercial.  Not that that should be the purpose of the meeting, but it could be considered an expected outcome.

by the mollusk 2010-02-08 02:35PM | 0 recs
Nothing else seems to be working

So might as well give this a try.  It would be better just to proceed without the Republicans but Congressional leadership doesn't seem willing to move things forward, so what else can you do.  They need to be prodded into it with some actual leadership.

by Steve M 2010-02-08 11:30AM | 0 recs

in his Q/A with congressional republicans, obama stated he would listen to any ideas they had.  It is their time to publically put up or shut up. I think it's important that the American people see boehner et. al. hoisted by their own petards.


Also, Can obama try for losing here?  "he needs to show more leadership" has now become "he's wasting his time"



by lojasmo 2010-02-08 11:41AM | 0 recs
RE: Wel

Exactly. Obama can never win. Not that anybody is surprised by that anymore.

I think this is a good idea. I think the summit is only scheduled for two days. Obama will have the chance to engage the public in the process. Obama will also be able to point out how many Republican amendments are actually in the bill. This event puts pressure on Queen Snowe, since she voted for the Senate bill in committee and all of her objections to the bill were removed. There is absolutely no real goddamn reason she won't vote for the bill, except pure politics.

I think any time Obama can put himself in a room with a camera and Republicans he will win hands down. This plan has potential.

by Lolis 2010-02-08 01:03PM | 0 recs
RE: Wel

I hope Dems have there arguements down pat. You can be sure stuff like Tort reform is going to come up from the GOP side.

by vecky 2010-02-08 02:09PM | 0 recs
You did a heckuvajob,


by QTG 2010-02-08 12:07PM | 0 recs


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