Tuesday, February 23, 2010

D-Week For HealthCare Reform.

Later this week, the President and members of Congress will meet in DC for a live televised healthcare summit. Some (like me) speculate that this is little more than political theater, and a veritable setup to make Republicans look as dishonest as they really are on a national stage. If last month's Obama/GOP showdown in Charm City was any indication, this will be as one-sided as Lakers vs Clippers.
The White House has invited 37 lawmakers from both parties to a Feb. 25 meeting on health care reform with Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and other administration officials. The meeting will be televised live.

Both sides have responded by digging in. Republicans have called for a brand new start on health care legislation, while Democrats have refused to back away from the bills passed by the House and Senate. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid signaled Friday that the public option could be back on the table.

The White House will offer its first proposal Monday, in an attempt to frame the agenda for the summit. Its version will reportedly take elements from the bills passed by the House and the Senate, and hold out the possibility of using reconciliation, a process that would let the bill reach his desk with a simple vote in both chambers.

Obama said that he has accepted Republican ideas "from the beginning," including letting people purchase health insurance across state lines.

"I don’t want to see this meeting turn into political theater, with each side simply reciting talking points and trying to score political points," he Obama said. "Instead, I ask members of both parties to seek common ground in an effort to solve a problem that’s been with us for generations."

He called on Congress to "move forward together," and reform health care.
It's clear that the GOP is coming is looking to obstruct, as many members have already called on Obama to scrap the plan, and any thought of using reconciliation, and start over. Personally, I see no way Obama could possibly do that. Whether or not choosing to take on healthcare reform with the economy still in shambles was a good idea or not is irrelevant. What's certain is that this horse is the signature initiative he's staked himself on, and he can't possibly abandon ship now.

What I'll enjoy best about this show is watching GOPers pop sh*t about Obama ignoring their great ideas, when reality is, most of what they've been clamoring for is already in the House version of the bill that none of them bothered to vote on. Likewise, their claims for "transparency" are being trumped by Obama putting his version of the bill on the internet today (72 hours ahead of the meeting, as they asked) and the meeting itself is being played on C-Span (as he promised). Seriously, when folks consider how many concessions Obama and Co. (for better or for worse) have already given to the Republicans, it'll be hard for any sensible person to see their lack of participation as anything other than obstruction. Obama knows this, they know this. It'll all surely make for excellent political theater.

Whether it will result in enough GOP votes to get something done to help average, everyday working Americans who are sick and tired of being sick and tired remains to be seen.

We'll see on Thursday.

Question: What do you expect to happen at this week's Healthcare summit in DC? Will Obama reveal the GOP for being the a$$holes they actually are, or will incompetent boobs like Pelosi and Reid somehow find a way to screw up even this chip shot?

President Obama: Summit 'our chance' [Politico]

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