Here's what Representative Tom Price, chairman of the Republican Study Committee, said after the summit: Today’s summit should have been used to start anew because Americans simply don’t agree with the Democrats’ approach. Instead, President Obama and Democrat leaders completely ignored the public’s call to start over with a blank sheet of paper. But Democrats came to the table unwilling to let go of their thousands of pages of big government. Amidst all the talk, one contrast stood out with crystal clarity.
Via the White House blog, spokesman Dan Pfeiffer has just released a statement about the summit. It talks about the meaningful discussion and the common ground explored.
The news coverage, I am sure, will lead with the testy exchange between President Obama and John McCain. But the vast majority of the past seven-and-a-half hours was about differences over policy, which is as it should be. Yes, there was some common ground. But not a lot. And while Obama offered to accommodate the Republicans further on issues like malpractice reform, I didn't hear the Republicans offering to reciprocate. Their mantra at the end seemed to be the same as it was at the start: Scrap the bill and start over. I'm not sure how that plays out politically.
Republicans today are spending a lot of time talking up "Association Health Plans." This is not a new idea. Among other things, it was part of George W. Bush's 2000 presidential campaign platform, when I wrote about it. Here's what I said then: Proponents of the Bush plan say Association Health Plans--under which a big trade group like the NFIB would offer insurance to its members--will allow small businesses to enjoy, at last, the same economies of scale and bargaining power as big companies.
President Obama says that health care reform will reduce insurance premiums for most people. Senator Lamar Alexander will raise them. Who's right? Obama, although the explanation is a bit complicated. Here's how I explained it back when the Congressional Budget Office first issued its analysis: The most important issue for most Americans isn't what the government spends on health care. It's what they, as individuals and families, spend on health care.
Yes, I will be following the summit on Twitter. You can follow me, following the summit, at this link. I'll also write a blog item or two, including a wrap-up when it's all over.
What's at stake Thursday, when President Obama hosts a bipartisan meeting at Blair House? And what's this business about the White House preparing a fallback plan? You'll find the answers--er, my answers--to those questions in my latest column.
The White House has released some more details about Thursday's Blair House meeting: Who will be there and the shape of the table where they'll all be sitting: The President will be seated in the middle of one side of the hollow square, with the Vice President, Secretary Sebelius, and congressional Leadership seated alongside him.
Congressman Anthony Weiner likes the spotlight and the spotlight likes him. There have been times in the past few months when I've wondered if that's entirely a good thing. But when he gets on a roll, boy, he's fun to watch:
When Senators like Bernie Sanders or Sherrod Brown say Democrats need to finalize health care reform through the budget reconciliation process because of Republican obstructionism, that doesn't mean much. When Senators Evan Bayh, Mary Landrieu, and Ben Nelson say their more liberal colleagues may be right, that means a lot. Via Politico's Carrie Budoff Brown, here's Bayh: “Obviously, if the minority is just frustrating the process, that argues for taking steps to get the public’s business done. ...