The pre-debate debate on healthcare reform

There's a lot of posturing going on in Washington today in advance of tomorrow's bipartisan healthcare summit, with Republicans claiming that public sentiment is against a big reform push and some House Democrats--including Speaker Nancy Pelosi--reserving judgment on the comprehensive plan President Obama has proposed.

The pre-debate debate has also focused on the likelihood that Democrats would seek to pass a new bill as a reconciliation measure requiring only a simple majority. Republicans decried the possibility, despite their repeated use of it when George W. Bush was president; Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) went so far as to call it a "political kamikaze move" that Democrats would regret after November's midterm elections. Even some Democrats weren't thrilled with the idea, but said that they'd participate if they think the bill is a good one.

Meanwhile, House Democrats take issue with some of the president's specific proposals, and the Republicans have come up with their own plan, which relies on the private sector to fix certain problems, but--most importantly for pharma--would extend insurance coverage to an additional 3 million Americans, rather than 31 million as President Obama proposes. And the summit organizers are nailing down the room layout--an open square--and finalizing the seating chart.

- read the Wall Street Journal story
- get more from the Health Blog
- see the article in the New York Times
- check out the Washington Post coverage