The fact that yesterday’s Health Care Summit happened at all, with both parties in attendance and (mostly) on their best behavior. If nothing else, both parties aired their positions in public, on television and radio, and gave the public two very distinct views of reform.
That neither side appeared to offer any new ideas… both sides doggedly stuck to their talking points: “Start over” vs “We have solutions already”. Republicans postured for their base, while Democrats pandered to theirs. Not enough was heard from the attendees and the President did more than his share of talking.
There should be no surprise the summit ended with no new bipartisan agreement. The cynical view – much in evidence in today’s reporting – is that the whole event was carefully designed by the White House to underscore the perception that the Republican Party is obstructing reform…leaving the Democrats “no choice” but to use reconciliation to move forward.
Two of the speakers did impress me:
Senator Tom Coburn, R-Oklahoma. Senator Coburn centered his comments on cost issues. He brought up the fact that 33 percent of the cost of health care simply shouldn’t be there. Part of this is due to inefficiencies in the current system, including unnecessary testing, but mostly to fraud. Reduce the fraud, bring down costs, and then let’s move on to working on prevention…WE AGREE.
Rep Jim Cooper, D-Tennessee. One of the Blue Dog Coalition, he is considered a bit of a loose cannon by some, but I was impressed by his sincerity, and his very sober assessment of our situation. Do not delay action; tackling the problems provides solutions, endless debate does not. WE AGREE.
Where is Clint Eastwood when we need him most?