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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 2/9/10

Closing the Deal in Health Reform, With or Without the GOP

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Pres. Obama is catching a lot of flak right now from both the Left and the Right, as on his leadership for health care reform.

In particular, some who follow politics closely ask, Isn't the president's reaching out in a spirit of "bipartisanship" now -- after a year of virtually lockstep obstruction on the part of the GOP in Congress -- an exercise in futility?

Well, independent swing voters are, understandably and rightly, fed up with the lack of progress on legislation so desperately needed to move our nation forward, out of the mess that the previous administration left us in (a fact that most Democrats still recognize but most Republicans simply dismiss out of hand). So politically, calls for bipartisan cooperation should at least "play well in Peoria."

But that is a far cry from actually breaking the legislative logjams -- particularly from the filibuster in the Senate -- and solving our pressing problems.

And the president's strong, unprecedented, one-on-many -- truly gutsy -- performance in recently debating the Republican House members may have actually made them less prone to accept his Super Bowl invitation to sit down with him and discuss, point by point, their plans for health care reform and ours.

Indeed, the GOP House leaders are balking at another encounter of the Obama kind, particularly because the White House insists it will not scrap the hard work of the House and Senate over these many months and start all over from scratch, perhaps constructing some "one- or two-legged stool" of a health care plan, which couldn't stand on its own but would simply hand over to the insurance industry a whole horde of new customers without any cost controls or subsidies for people to afford insurance.

Any ideas will be considered in the health care summit; but most Democrats are confident that after public debate, with input from recognized health care experts, any reasonable observers will conclude that the GOP proposals, as we've heard before, will not be better than the (probably-by-then-reconciled) House/Senate plan for making health care insurance more available, dependable, and affordable (let alone helping to reduce the federal deficit).

So if most Democrats anticipate little if any improvement in the plan, what's the point of Obama even asking the GOP to a health care summit?

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Doug Drenkow is a writer, editor, webmaster, and producer. A fourth-generation Democrat, Doug has produced the political talk shows "Barry Gordon From Left Field," on radio, and "NewsRap with Barry Gordon," on cable TV, featuring top (more...)

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