Thursday, Feb. 25, 2010, is the date for the new “health care summit“, where President Obama requested to meet with Congressional Democrats and Republicans alike to, hopefully, make progress toward passing a healthcare overhaul bill. “We’re going to move forward the Democratic proposal — we hope the Republicans have one too,” Obama said. “And we’ll sit down and let’s hammer it out. We’ll go section by section. America can’t solve our economic problems unless we tackle some of these structural problems.”

But, what’s the point, really?

I don’t think I’m being cynical, here. It’s just that the plans are already in place to ram Obamacare through, regardless of what Republicans or the majority of The People have to say about it. The Democrats are sticking with what want, what they’ve got, and aren’t really interested in other ideas or approaches. Senate and House leaders (i.e., all Dems, remember) have been working for weeks on forging a compromise on their two versions of Obamacare. Early this week, the President will be revealing his own version of a healthcare reform bill, which will no doubt be a close reflection of what Pelosi, Reid, et al. are putting together. And it has been made clear that the Democrats are ready to use the reconciliation procedure to force through whatever they settle on — a highly questionable move, at best.

Republicans, on the other hand, generally don’t want anything to do with the current monstrosity, in any form. They want to start over, concentrating on smaller pieces of legislation, starting with those things both sides can agree on. For example, removing barriers to insurance coverage for people with existing medical conditions. They also want to do things like cap medical malpractice judgements, which the CBO says will reduce defensive medicine, thereby also reducing costs. (The President thinks such a cap would be “going too far”. Hmm. You don’t think his trial lawyer buddies are influencing his thinking, do you?)

So, why should Republicans even show up at the summit? Mainly, because not doing so will play right into their opponents hands, “proving” that they are unreasonable obstructionists who won’t even attempt to play ball. Plus, attending gives Republican leaders another chance to voice their alternative ideas in public, since the summit will be televised.

Despite this, IMHO, this week’s summit is really a sham. It’s an opportunity for the President to pretend he’s suddenly ready-n-willing to seriously consider what the Republicans are saying, encourage his fellow Democrats to stay firm in their quest to pass Obamacare, and get some good press. I seriously doubt much will really be accomplished toward “fixing” the current legislation, so that everyone is even partially satisfied. The Dems will still try to push through the travesty that is Obamacare via reconciliation, as planned.

Or, as Mark Tapscott of the San Francisco Examiner put it, “[T]he summit is part and parcel of a White House/congressional Democratic strategy to distract attention from what is about to happen on the Hill. It’s the classic magician’s trick of distracting you with the left hand while the right hand does the ‘trick.'”

  1. Jay says:

    Mr. Obama wants nothing more than for the Republicans to refuse to show up. Then he’ll simply say, “See! You ARE the party of NO! I tried and look at us now.” Clearly a tactic as you pointed out. I agree with you 110%. I usually do though.

    He is taking to heart the ideas of opening up the states for competition as well as allowing small businesses to enter into co-opt purchasing groups. That, at least, is a start.

    The worst thing the Republicans can do is not show up. Whether they intend to cross the isle or not, they need to show their faces and attempt dialog. They have to balance the effort to work in a bi-partisan manner with not allowing the American people to get steamrolled by the current bill.

    Viva la November!

    SIDE NOTE: I wanted to speak with you about something outside blog comments. lol! Below is my spam email. Shoot me an email and I will respond with my personal address.

  2. Elric66 says:

    “they need to show their faces and attempt dialog”

    No they dont.

    “They have to balance the effort to work in a bi-partisan manner with not allowing the American people to get steamrolled by the current bill.”

    No they dont. Any bill put forth is bad, especially if Republican fingerprints are on it. Let them ram it through by reconciliation.

  3. pastorjeffcma says:

    I am not sure that it mattered whether they showed up or not. This kind of gathering is never a good idea for President Obama because it seems when there is ever a conflict he tends to come across sophomoric–I’m not sure how many times since the election that he has reminded people that “I’m the President.” That being the case I don’t think anything new was said and I can’t imagine that anybody was swayed in their opinion by anything that was said at that meeting. If anybody was helped it was probably the Republicans since their views got covered which has not been the case up to this point.

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