Obama: ‘Take Time’ On Health Reform, Democrats Haggle On Next StepsABC News: "Summoning the message back that once mobilized his grass-roots campaign, the president spoke tonight in front of the same people Organizing for America and DNC members whose poll show some are feeling somewhat discouraged by the first year of the Obama administration. ... The president outlined in broad strokes what he'd like to see happen [on health reform]. 'What I'd like to do is have a meeting where I'm sitting with the Republicans, sitting with the Democrats. Sitting with health care experts. And let's just go through these bills. Their ideas, our ideas, let's walk thought them in a methodical way so the American people can see and compare.'"
"He added that while he wants 'to take our time,' the key though, is to 'not let the moment slip away' on health care" (Miller, 2/4).
Politico: "A White House aide could not provide any further details on whether such a meeting (with Republicans) was in the works. Obama appeared to be sketching out a strategy that involves putting Republicans on the spot, and if they decline to take a meaningful role, Democrats will push ahead with a vote regardless. White House officials have been hinting at this kind of approach since losing the Senate's filibuster-proof majority last month" (Budoff Brown, 2/4).
Meanwhile, CongressDaily reports: "Progressives plan next week to reach across the Capitol and plot a strategy to revive the public option, the single provision in the healthcare overhaul that dominated the debate for weeks only to die in the Senate at the hands of entrenched GOP opposition and a few Democrats. .... [they plan to] push Senate Majority Leader Reid to bring it to the floor. Freshmen Reps. Jared Polis, D-Colo., and Chellie Pingree, D-Maine, co-authored a letter they sent Reid Wednesday with signatures from 120 House members urging him to include a public option through reconciliation" (Edney, 2/4).
In a separate story, Politico reports that Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., "ripped into White House senior adviser David Axelrod this week during a tense, closed-door session with Senate Democrats. Democratic senators are frustrated that the White House hasn't done more to win over the public on health care reform and other aspects of its ambitious agenda - and angry that, in the wake of Scott Brown's win in the Massachusetts Senate race, the White House hasn't done more to chart a course for getting a health care bill to the president's desk" (Raju and Barr, 2/4).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.