Biden: ‘Ready To Listen’ To GOP Health Care Ideas, Republicans Not Convinced
While health reform legislation was eclipsed recently by the jobs bill and the war in Afghanistan on the Sunday morning news shows, Democrats and Republicans still found time to disagree.
The Associated Press reports that Vice President Joseph Biden on NBC's "Meet the Press" said that "the White House is ready and willing to listen to health care ideas from Republicans," at the Feb. 25 health care summit. "Biden says the keys are to control rising insurance premiums, control government spending on Medicare and Medicare and address insurance coverage issues." (2/14)
Biden, however, declined "to confirm reports that he advised President Barack Obama last January not to pursue health care reform because of the economic crisis," Politico reported. (Lee, 2/14).
Related KHN news summary: The President's Health Care Summit Invite To Lawmakers: 'Bring Comprehensive Legislation'
In a separate story, Politico notes that Republicans are still not convinced that Democrats want their help on health care. "It remains to be seen whether President Barack Obama's new bipartisanship outreach is legit or just a trap, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said on 'Fox News Sunday.' 'I think health care will determine that,' Graham said" (Lee, 2/14).
Congress Daily reports: Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl, R-Ariz. said on CNN's "State of the Union" that "it would be 'pointless' for congressional Republicans to participate in healthcare talks at the White House if Democrats have already devised a plan to push a pre-negotiated reconciliation bill. 'I don't know why we would be having a bipartisan summit down at the White House if they've already decided on this other process by which they are going to jam the bill through'" (House, 2/14).
The Hill reports: "Instead, Kyl called for redrafting the legislation from scratch - another common GOP claim in recent weeks - and argued that it should start with limits on medical malpractice lawsuits" (Rushing, 2/14).
Meanwhile, Roll Call reports that "House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) predicted Saturday that President Barack Obama's bipartisan health care summit would do little to encourage further Republican input in health care reform legislation, but he stopped short of saying he would boycott the meeting. ... In a statement released Saturday evening, Boehner said that Obama's format and set of ground rules for the summit made the meeting little but political theater" (Kucinich, 2/13).
Miami Herald/McClatchy: "Senate Republicans are using the filibuster to limit and often derail Democrats' initiatives, paralyzing the Senate and making it nearly impossible to accomplish even the most routine matters. ... 'Republicans have ratcheted use of the filibuster up to completely unheard of levels. Look at the things that the House (of Representatives) has passed that can't make it through the Senate. The list just keeps growing,' said Norman Ornstein, an expert on Congress at the American Enterprise Institute, a center-right policy organization. The list includes legislation to overhaul health care, which has stalled and isn't a good bet to be revived..." (Lightman, 2/14).