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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 2/10/10

The Upcoming Bipartisan Health Care "Summit:" Am I Missing Something Here?

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On Super Bowl Sunday, the president announced during a pre-game show of the event his plan calling for a half-day, bi-partisan health care session to be televised live at the White House.

In his interview with CBS' Katie Couric, the president said, "The starting point would be the proposals that passed the House and Senate."

He said he didn't want to "start over" (as the Republicans wanted), but that he wanted, ""All the best ideas (on health care) " and "to move it forward."

Whether this proposed "summit" was a ploy to show off his considerable rhetorical skills against the Republicans' resistance to any of the Democratic proposals, (betting he could outmaneuver all their verbal swipes in their attempts to scuttle the Democrats' bills) or to push them to declare openly what it is they would offer as an alternative health care proposal is not exactly clear.

With only a half-day stipulated as the time frame for this "summit" and considering the present impasse on the issue since Republican Scott Brown (R. Mass.) was elected, one wonders what could possibly be accomplished.

Yet the key term in the president's statement was his wanting "all the best ideas" put forward. Since he didn't want to "start over" and the starting point is the Democrats' proposals already passed, is it likely a single payer, Medicare-type health care reform proposal (that was previously off the table and never considered), will be one of the "best ideas" now to be considered? That seems highly unlikely since, without starting over, there is no opening for "single payer" to be presented as a viable alternative.

Am I missing something here?

This one idea--a single payer, Medicare-type health care system--that would offer true competition to the private, health care providers, cover everybody, preclude rejection based on pre-existing conditions and would reduce health care costs substantially over the present system was never in the discussion and never debated. Its proponents were prevented from even being allowed to sit on the key Senate panel hearings conducted by Max Baucus (D Mont.)[1], the Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.

It would be ludicrous for the president to say he wants "all the best ideas" on health care reform and never consider "single payer" to be put forward on the "summit's" agenda, particularly now when health care reform is stalemated.

Let's do something constructive that would be real health care reform. Otherwise this bi-partisan health care session will be nothing more than a televised gab fest and an act of presidential grandstanding.

[1] Baucus has been staunch opponent of single payer health care reform while at same time he is a major recipient of funds (to his campaign war chest) from the major players in private health care industry.


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