Obama Challenges GOP to Bring It to TV Healthcare Summit

February 8, 2010

(ChattahBox)— President Obama announced, during an interview with Katie Couric on the Super Bowl pre-game show, a bipartisan healthcare reform summit that would be televised to the nation on Feb. 25. His proposal comes on the heels of his successful question and answer session at the Republican’s Baltimore retreat. And his new strategy of taking a more measured pace towards passage of healthcare reform. Obama challenged Republicans to “bring it” in a televised showdown of distinctly different political philosophies and competing healthcare reform proposals. Republicans are largely focused on cutting costs, while Democrats seek to cut costs, enact reforms to the health insurance system, such as abolishing the denial of insurance based on pre-existing conditions. And more importantly, Democrats want to provide health insurance to the roughly 30 million Americans who don’t have it.

Americans would have the opportunity to compare and contrast competing philosophies towards healthcare reform. One White House official said, ‘We are coming with our plan. They can bring their plan.”

Obama’s challenge is seen as a calling their bluff moment towards Republicans. But at the same time, it’s doubtful the GOP would change their minds about the Democrat’s healthcare reform proposal, as a result of the summit. Obstructionism and strident opposition to not only healthcare reform, but every other measure proposed by the Obama administration, has paid dividends for Republicans so far. And there is little incentive for Republicans to change their tactics going into the 2010 mid-term elections.

But a public airing of the Republican Party of no ideas and extreme partisanship, may provide Obama and Democratic lawmakers with political cover, as they proceed towards enacting healthcare reform reform through reconciliation in the Senate.

House Republican leader John Boehner (OH) and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell (KY), accepted Obama’s challenge, but they both tried to frame the summit as throwing out Democratic proposals and starting the debate from scratch; a notion the White House rejected. “This is not starting over,” said a White House official.

“What the president will not do is let this moment slip away. He hopes to have Republican support in doing so — but he is going to move forward on health reform,” added the White House official.

See the Washington Post for more.


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