The big bipartisan healthcare-reform summit is taking place as we speak, but Democrats and President Obama have already started looking past that meeting. Lawmakers are talking post-meeting strategy, and Obama has readied a fallback plan should his comprehensive proposal floated earlier this week prove unsellable.
That "Plan B" would extend health insurance to some 15 million Americans, rather than the 31 million in "Plan A," the Wall Street Journal reports. But it would be a better-than-nothing bill that Democrats could point to when asked by voters what they've accomplished this term. Some specifics: People up to 26 years old could stay on their parents' health insurance, and two federal-slash-state health coverage programs--Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program--would be expanded. And it would cost about one-fourth of Plan A.
Meanwhile, Democrats are counting on the summit turning out to be a set piece, rather than a real negotiating session. So they're talking amongst themselves about how to get healthcare reform through Congress, the Washington Post reports, and crossing their fingers that President Obama will take a "forceful approach" to leading his proposals forward.
Before any of that can happen, however, the summit has to play itself out. And there are sure to be some moments that no one expected. So stay tuned for coverage of the meeting--and of whether Plan A or Plan B goes forward.