At yesterday's healthcare reform summit, lawmakers came, saw, talked--and that's about it. They didn't come up with a brand-new reform strategy. Actually, they didn't come to a definitive agreement on anything, other than the fact that they disagree. So what's that mean for President Obama's healthcare proposal? Party line, most experts say. Here's a roundup of news.
- If there was any question about how deeply divided Republicans and Democrats are about how to reshape the American healthcare system, the New York Times reports, consider that they spent the first few hours of President Obama's much-anticipated healthcare forum arguing over whether they were in fact deeply divided.
- President Obama declared that the time for debate over healthcare reform has come to an end, the Washington Post reports, closing the summit by sending a clear message that Democrats will move forward to pass major legislation with or without Republican support.
- Delivering that closing argument, according to another Post story, Obama told Republicans he welcomes their ideas--even those Democrats don't like--but they must fit into his proposed framework for a broad health care remake that would cover tens of millions of uninsured Americans.
- Republicans complain about Democrats' talk about pushing the reform legislation through the Senate as a reconciliation measure. And it's true that recent uses of the procedure haven't been quite as big as this bill would be, the Wall Street Journal Health Blog reports. But Republicans have used it to push through some "far-reaching" changes as well, including the original Children's Health Insurance Program and President George W. Bush's two big tax-cut bills.
What's next? We may see some talk back and forth about a few issues that both sides agree on at least partly, such as medical malpractice changes. But overall we're probably going to see the president trying to rally Democrats behind the measure. And we won't know how successful he's been unless and until it goes up for a vote.