Health care summit craps out

(AFP)

They came, they talked, they pontificated, they postured.

In the end, they accomplished nothing.

After seven-and-a-half hours of positioning, President Barack Obama, Republicans and Democrats failed to reach any agreement on health care reform and Obama now will do what he planned to do all along — push for a “my way or the highway vote” in the Democratic-controlled Congress.

“We cannot have another yearlong public debate on this,” Obama said after the day-long, televised show-and-tell-nothing. “I’m not sure we can bridge the gap.”

No one is sure he and the Democrats can get a health care bill passed either. Democrats, aware of slumping public opinion on the current reform bill, don’t want to risk re-election chances in the fall mid-term elections and Republicans show no sign of budgeting in their steadfast opposition.

The much-ballyhooed summit turned testy at times and at other moments appeared to be more like a Sunday news talk show where each side recites talking points and offers little actual debate or compromise.

“This is a car that can’t be recalled and fixed,” said Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander. “We ought to start over.”

“We just can’t afford this,” declared GOP Rep. Eric Cantor. “That’s the ultimate problem.”

Some of the harshest exchanges came between Obama and Sen. John McCain, the Arizona Republican he beat in the 2008 Presidential election.

At one point, Obama told McCain to remember that “we’re not campaigning any more. The election is over.”

“I’m reminded of that every day,” McCain said.

When Obama tried to cut McCain off at one point, the Senator’s tempered flared and he shot back “can I just finish please?”

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3 Responses to "Health care summit craps out"

  1. Mightymo  February 26, 2010 at 10:50 am

    Crapped out? I guess that depends on what you expected the outcome to be.
    I don’t view it as a success, because ultimately I would have hoped for something tangible to have come from it. But neither do I consider it a failure. It did succeed in finally putting all the key players into a room with plenty of opportunity to provide the American people an honest and open forum to see what each side has to offer.
    It reinforced what I thought all along, that the Republicans are providing nothing and actually are a hindrance to advancement. The most important thing the Republicans could have done is offered enough workable solutions to keep the Democrats honest in how they advance with this, because it will advance one way or the other.
    Instead all they could do is defend the non-defendable. McCain sat there providing us with a visual idea of why we should be thankful he’s not President. The rest could only offer the most lame of solutions: Start over again.
    I will now support Obama and his partners in almost any attempt they take to fix this mess. First thing I hope they do is subpoena the financial records of the largest Healthcare Insurance companies and give those of us who pay into this financial trap a clear indication of how much of our yearly premiums actually go towards healthcare and how much goes towards lining the pockets of key players and other wasteful practices at our expence.

  2. Almandine  February 26, 2010 at 12:45 pm

    All together on the right, now… as MightyMo has given the leftist spin.

  3. Tom  February 26, 2010 at 4:05 pm

    My guess is that a bill will be pushed through mandating everyone to buy private health insurance. The reason for this is that the current system is in a death spiral. Due to the bad economy and high premiums healthy people are dropping their health insurance and self insuring. This leaves a higher ratio of sick people in the pool. This causes the insurance companies to raise premiums so they can keep profits up, which cause more healthy people to drop coverage, premiums have to be raised again… (See a pattern developing here?)

    All the players know the situation is unsustainable, so the “solution” will be to force everyone to buy private insurance, with poorer people being subsidized. This will just add to the debt and kick the “health insurance collapse” can down the road a bit. But the problems will only resurface again in the future because nothing is being done to meaningfully bring down healthcare/health insurance costs.

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