If the GOP does show up, the only thing I expect Obama to accomplish during the health care summit is to make fools of them by slicing and dicing the talking points they parrot.
Despite the demands of Boehner and Cantor that a reconciliation fix for healthcare refrom be ruled out, Obama is staying open to that option.
White House Spokesman Robert Gibbs said on Tuesday that Republicans coming to the West Wing for the much-anticipated February 25 meeting would be better off arriving "without preconditions." Asked whether Obama would commit to not using reconciliation -- which would allow aspects of health care legislation to be considered in the Senate by an up-or-down vote -- Gibbs replied: "The president is not going to eliminate things based on preconditions. And if that's one of their preconditions, the president doesn't agree to limiting the way we are going to discuss this."
Good thing, because healthcare reform isn't going to happen without it. That's pretty clear from the actions of one of those "moderate" Republicans, Susan Collins. Here's an editorial from the Portland Press Herald on the latest from her:
Sen. Susan Collins wrote a column for this newspaper explaining her objections to the package that she voted against in the Senate on Christmas Eve. ("Cost control essential if health care reform is to succeed," Feb 1)
Collins said that she would not vote for the bill because it didn't do enough to control costs and listed several areas in which it could be better.
One was a practice called bundling, in which providers are paid in lump sums to treat patients instead of by the service. Another was penalizing hospitals that have high infection rates.
Both are good ideas, both have support from health care economists as likely ways to cut costs while providing better care. And both, as Collins admits in her piece, are already in the Senate bill that she voted against....
As someone who wants to see comprehensive health care reform, I should be encouraged by Collins' common sense and practical ideas that would probably make the whole package better if they were part of the law.
But Collins never said that she would vote for the "whole package." While she and other Republicans say they are waiting to engage in bipartisan talks on health insurance reform, they seem to be gaining too much politically by letting the Democrats flop around on the dock gasping for air.
As long as there is no political cost to Republicans for wasting a whole year and accomplishing nothing other than maintaining an unsustainable status quo, don't expect them to move.
That's why, in this case, practical, common-sense proposals are just another way of saying "no."
Since Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins are conjoined twins, don't expect Snowe to touch bipartisanship with a ten-foot pole now. If anything approaching meaningful reform is going to happen, it's through the reconciliation sidecar coupled with the Senate bill… [emphasis original]
Inserted from <Daily Kos>
I hope that the Democrats are ready to proceed with a reconciliation measure immediately.