KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Obama To Include GOP Ideas In Health Proposal Today

With President Barack Obama's release today of his latest health reform plan, he hopes to propel the dialogue forward as he also signals willingness to incorporate GOP ideas into his proposal.

Kaiser Health News has posted excerpts of the speech released in advance by the White House.  

The Washington Post: The president "plans to call on Congress to bring the year-long debate to a swift close, and congressional leaders expect him to signal support for a strategy that includes a special budget maneuver known as reconciliation. Under that strategy, the House would adopt the bill the Senate passed on Christmas Eve and approve a separate package of fixes to reflect a compromise worked out between Democrats in the two chambers." Meanwhile, GOP leaders said "Obama's offer to adopt some of the ideas they promoted at last week's health-care summit would do little to improve what they consider a fundamentally flawed measure" (Montgomery and Murray, 3/3).

The New York Times: "In a letter to Congressional leaders of both parties, Mr. Obama said he was open to four specific ideas raised by Republicans at the daylong health care forum last week, including encouraging the use of tax-advantaged medical savings accounts and increasing payments to doctors who treat Medicaid patients." Additionally, Obama said he was open to having undercover agents pose as patients to try to out fraud in the Medicare system, that he'd offer federal funding to help states explore limiting medical malpractice lawsuits and that high deductible insurance policies with health care savings accounts could be offered in federally regulated insurance marketplaces under his plan. "In response, the Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, warned that Republicans would use the health issue to bludgeon Democrats in this year's midterm elections'" (Herszenhorn and Pear, 3/2).

Kaiser Health News posted the letter with the four GOP ideas outlined.

The Hill: "Obama made clear in a letter to congressional leaders that he is not interested in a narrow measure. 'Piecemeal reform is not the best way,' Obama wrote, extending olive branches to the GOP by tweaking the $950 billion measure plan he released last week" (Young, 3/2).

The Wall Street Journal: "Although it is adopting some Republican ideas, the White House isn't expecting Republicans to abandon their opposition. Instead, it hopes to win public support - and wavering Democrats - by painting the process as open and collaborative. In remarks Wednesday, the president will emphasize that he has taken 'the best ideas from both parties,' a White House official said, and urge swift action. … A survey Tuesday by The Wall Street Journal of all House Democrats who voted against the bill last fall found at least a half-dozen lawmakers who are now withholding judgment" on the package before hearing Obama speak on the proposal (Hitt, Meckler and Adamy, 3/3). 

Los Angeles Times: The reconciliation package "could include several of the GOP ideas lauded by Obama, as well as other changes sought by House Democrats, including a reduction in a new tax on high-end 'Cadillac' health plans and an increase in subsidies to help low- and moderate-income Americans buy health coverage. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) said Tuesday that parliamentary rules would prevent the package from changing controversial provisions in the Senate bill limiting federal funding for abortion and preventing undocumented immigrants from buying most private health insurance on their own" (Levey and Hook, 3/3).

McClatchy: "The other political problem concerns how Democratic lawmakers, especially those from more conservative states and congressional districts, would explain to constituents why they voted for a process that Republicans say is simply 'ramming the bill through Congress'" (Lightman and Talev, 3/2).

The Associated Press has a run down of the details in Obama's health overhaul plan (3/2).

PBS Newshour also has a video and transcript detailing the proposals (Sreenivasan, 3/2).

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