It was a long day of commentary for many health policy bloggers, who concluded that President Barack Obama signaled his intention to push forward with the current proposals, though who will score the most political points from the seven hour health care summit remains contentious.
The Washington Post’s Ezra Klein: “The big story out of the summit is not that Republicans and Democrats extended their hands in friendship, but that the White House has dug its heels into the dirt. The Democrats are not taking reconciliation off the table, they are not paring back the bill, and they are not extricating themselves from the issue. They think they’re right on this one, and they’re going to try and pass this bill.”
The New Republic’s Jonathan Cohn: “Yes, there was some common ground. But not a lot. And while Obama offered to accommodate the Republicans further on issues like malpractice reform, I didn’t hear the Republicans offering to reciprocate. Their mantra at the end seemed to be the same as it was at the start: Scrap the bill and start over… [Obama] believes, as he has long believed, that ‘baby steps’ won’t do.”
The American Spectator’s Philip Klein: “Despite 7 hours of talking, Thursday’s White House health care summit ultimately did nothing to change the dynamics of the debate. President Obama, at least for now, ruled out the idea of scrapping the current health care bill and taking ‘baby steps.’ And Republicans won’t be willing to sign on to the current health care bill with a few mere cosmetic add ons to create the illusion that Obama wants to integrate GOP ideas.”
Time’s Kate Pickert says, “Let no one question that President Obama is still hoping to push health care reform across the finish line – he stayed put and moderated the entire seven and a half hour bipartisan summit on the issue today.”
Critical Condition’s James Capretta: “The president is trying to make it seem like the only cuts in the Medicare program he is advocating are for Medicare Advantage (MA) plans. That’s demonstrably not true. The chief actuary has raised concerns about the payment-rate reductions that the Democrats are pushing for hospitals in the traditional program. He believes those cuts will harm access to care. That’s one of the points Rep. Paul Ryan made earlier.”
Wonk Room’s Igor Volsky: “This morning, Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) refused to say what Republicans would be willing to ‘to give in return’ if Democrats accepted GOP proposals after the bipartisan health care summit. Cornyn insisted that the Democrats must scrap the current legislation and start from scratch if they hope to win bipartisan support.”
The New Health Dialogue’s Joanne Kenen says Republicans used almost identical talking points after the summit as before it began, and notes: “Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell urged the president to scrap the whole bill and predicted not a single Republican would vote for the bill. We’ll see what happens, but the ball, and the bill, may be back in the Democrats’ court.”
The Huffington Post rounded up a group of experts and commentators, including the National Women’s Health Network’s Amy Allina, who was one of few who mentioned statements on abortion: “I understand why the President didn’t want to spend the small amount of time they have left refuting all the misstatements that Boehner made. But unfortunately, the result is that the falsehoods were stated and the facts weren’t. And it’s also unfortunate that none of the prochoice members of Congress at the summit has found time to point out how damaging the abortion restrictions in the bill will be for the health of women and our families.”
Cato’s health care experts live-blogged the meeting.
The Heritage Foundation’s health experts provided reaction. Nina Owcharenko argued, “Simply adjusting the magnitude of these proposals or adding new ‘conservative’ provisions as suggested in the President’s latest proposal does not change their fundamental direction.”
The Daily Caller’s Jon Ward live-blogged the summit.
And TPM’s Josh Marshall looks at reported live streams, which were lower than the State of the Union, and notes, “But over the years I’ve gotten a pretty good feel for how different kinds of political events bump traffic on TPM. And there was a much bigger bump than I would have expected for an event like this.”