HEALTH REFORM -- February 25, 2010 at 4:29 PM EDT
Reactions to #HCRSummit Around the Web
Did the health reform summit change minds? It's still hard to say.
Heading into Thursday's summit, there's been a lot of talk on both sides about how they're the reasonable ones, willing to meet in the middle -- and it's the other side that's to blame.
But the reality is, both sides have been responding to the overwhelming incentives to play to the home team, and to tailor their positions to seek partisan advantage and political gain.
For those in favor of passing a health reform bill, optimism rested less on moving votes than on potentially crafting a new solution, The New Republic's Jonathan Cohn reported:
But there is also a third option, one that's been lurking in the background ever since last summer, when the push for comprehensive reform got bogged down on Capitol Hill. It's the administration's Plan B or, as the insiders have been calling it, the "skinny bill." Back in January, after the Massachsuetts election eliminated the Democrats' filibuster-proof majority, Robert Pear and David Herzenhorn of the New York Times described the basic outline of such a scheme--primarily, a more modest expansion of public programs to cover children and their families. On Wednesday, Laura Meckler of the Wall Street Journal reported that the White House stood ready to pursue Plan B if the push for Plan A fails.
For background on what's actually being proposed, Kaiser Health News has a comparison of the bills passed by the House and Senate, and President Obama's compromise proposal, which aims to merge the two.
Republicans came with their own, much smaller plan, centered around medical malpractice reform and letting consumers buy health insurance from other states. The loudest and most oft-repeated message from Republicans: Start over.
The size of the proposals alone reflect a sharp difference in philosophies, says Ezra Klein of the Washington Post:
At best, what you can say today is demonstrating is that there's a sharp contrast in the philosophies on display: Democrats believe the federal government is capable of writing and implementing legislation that will take a big step forward on a hard problem. Republicans believe government doesn't have that capability, and shouldn't try. There's no real compromise available between those two position, but they're philosophies that the American people can choose between.
(See Klein's interview with Sen. Lamar Alexander for more on the subject of how grand Congress's ambitions should be.)
We're watching reverberations of Thursday's summit around the Web and we'll keep updating as observations occur.