Initial reactions to the Health Care Summit (Updated)

For seven hours, the President and representatives from the two major parties sat around a square table to debate the merits of the omnibus Health Care Reform package put together by the Democrats in the House and the Senate, as well as the framework released by the President earlier in the week. For seven hours, talking points were passed back and forth, and the President challenged the Republicans on their criticisms and proposals. For seven hours, the only thing that was accomplished was localized global warming and an increase in noise pollution.

I’m still going through all of the accounts of the day as well as watching some of the video clips of the exchanges, and the only thing that I learned was that Republican Representative Paul Ryan should become the party’s face for their position in the debate. He came across well studies, articulate, and knowledgeable on not only the Democratic legislation but on the CBO scoring as well. He, by far, was much better than Senator John McCain. McCain sounded like he was stuck in 2008 campaign mode, but with more rambling and less on-topic discussion.

Reading through the members on the Political Blog Listing, I have found two bloggers who have posted their initial views on the summit.

Our friend over at the First Door on the Left said:

President Obama hosted what was billed as a bipartisan health care summit in D.C. today. There was, in reality, nothing bipartisan about it. The Republicans (as expected) spent the entire day whining and insisting that unless things are done their way they won’t be done at all.

This was balanced by QandO:

I’ve been watching and/or listening to the health care summit today and it became fairly obvious from the opening bell that there wasn’t going to be much of anything worthwhile or substantive accomplished – not that I’m surprised. 5 hours into it, it has been mostly the exchange of talking points. Right now I’m forced to listen to Henry Waxman give his. He’s claiming his version of the bill is the best and the Republican’s version sucks. Pretty much the way it has gone all day (Republicans have mostly said they want to start over with a clean sheet). Every one of the Democrats are appealing to emotion via tragic anecdotes.

Open Congress had this to say:

On the surface, today’s health care summit didn’t change much of anything. No bipartisan agreement on how to move forward was struck. Members of Congress didn’t put away their talking points in exchange for an honest discussion. And, despite the summit being broadcast live on television, it’s clear that behind-the-scenes, un-televised negotiations will to continue to take place.


From Connecting.the.Dots:

The bottom line is that the President tried but must realize that he succeeded only in revealing his own total grasp of the subject against the emptiness behind most of the Republican rhetoric for a minority of Americans willing to watch for hours. That ultimately may be the best Obama could hope for, as he ended with a clear warning that, if there is no sign of GOP engagement in the next month, Democrats in both Houses will move ahead without them.

A Disgruntled Republican said:

Watching the health care summit, I thought “Barack” came across as arrogant and condescending. I was struck by how Barack referred to everyone by their first name, calling Senator John McCain, who is certainly old enough to be his father, as “John” yet all of the senators referred to Barack as “Mr. President.” … This is an outrage. If senators must call the President “Mr. President” then he should return the courtesy by referring to the senators as “Senator.”

Taxes, Stupidity, and Death continued with:

And when Paul Ryan took 6 or so minutes to talk about the numbers from the CBO, the group actually charged with figuring out what these little love letters from Congress cost we, the unhappy recipients, Barack Hussein Obama looked like someone peed in his ice cream. It was like Congressman Ryan didn’t realize that he was actually addressing Barack Hussein Obama, who didn’t appreciate anyone making light of the fact that a gargantuan increase in a government entitlements don’t save us money, especially when the entitlements they already gave to us are choking the states, and ballooning uncontrollably.

As stated over on Cato @ Liberty:

There seemed to be a division between representatives who knew the technical subject matter and those who—for lack of a better phrase—knew the emotional subject matter. Surprisingly astute commentaries on fiscal realities were met with appeals to the story of one constituent or another—or of members’ own families’ health predicaments.

TalkLeft stated:

It is not even remotely possible that this was the last act imo. As I said before, nothing that happened yesterday will change any GOP votes. And the Dem votes in the room were already secure. The actual debate left to be had involves Democrats only. And indeed, it always only involved Democrats.

From the Right Wing Nut House:

Did one side “win” the day yesterday?” I’d say from what I saw of the summit (the first 4 hrs – then I watched woman’s hockey which was far more interesting), the Republicans had a clear advantage. It’s always better to be on offense and the GOP speakers scored several hard blows to the Democrats while offering some modest reforms of their own. For their part, the Democrats weirdly tried to get everyone watching to break down weeping as they related story after story of Americans losing insurance, having inadequate insurance, or some insurance executive beating them up, eating their children, or sucking their blood vampire like from their necks. I’m sure the wonks who were watching the fiasco had to excuse themselves to dry their eyes and blow their noses. Or not. Such emotionalism plays well on campaign commercials but only made Democrats look unserious and mostly silly for their going for the heart tactics.

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7 Responses to Initial reactions to the Health Care Summit (Updated)

  1. carmenmarron says:

    Very good synopsis. What was clear to me when watching it is that Congress is a mess. They do not live in the real world. What we witnessed was for the cameras and not an honest effort to get something done. No business would have had a meeting like this. No one other than an inefficient Congress could have pulled this off. What is sad is that the politicians are stuck on their talking points and cannot see common sense. They cannot see there are real problems that need to be addressed. Why they can't bend and move forward with the majority they agree on is beyond me. Why they have to insist on a huge monstrosity of a bill that experts and analysts on both sides agree has severe problems is beyond me. I think each side got what they wanted – the opportunity to show how the other side is holding things up and is bad. They now have further talking points for their campaigns. What did the American people get out of this though? Nothing!

  2. The BoBo says:

    You'll never get an honest assessment from Len. He's so hard core progressive that he's blinded. Personally, I think that this was intended to be a trap by the Dems. It didn't work. Besides, we have much important things to worry about than health care right now. 85% already have insurance. 10% are already eligible for some government program and just haven't applied, and 2% have incomes $75k+ and choose to self-pay. There is no need to do a complete overhaul of the best system in the world for 3% of the population. Our economy has gone to hell in a hand basket and they really think the public is concerned about health care reform? psshhh.

    The only reason this is still on the radar is because it has some unconstitutional mandates and they plan to ramrod this down the throats of Americans when clearly 56% of this country opposes and only 38% clear support it. I don't know what is up with the other 6% – maybe they're just clueless..but..either way – they need to scrap this whole thing, start over, and concentrate on getting this country and the economy back on track.

  3. I'm not much of an “in-person” protestor, but if Congress somehow passes legislation that mandates I HAVE to purchase some sort of health insurance or face a fine, you will find me taking time off from work to sit in a lawn chair in front of the Capitol building with large signs. If they can force me to buy one product (like health care coverage), they might as well force me to buy a GM at the same time.

  4. Obama's comment about this having to be a piece of complex legislation is wrong. Sorry, but it only takes one sentence to say health insurance providers cannot discriminate based upon pre-exisiting medical conditions. Additionally, it doesn't cost the US government (aka, the taxpayers) anything other than paper the line is written on and the ceremonial pens.

  5. ScotPS23 says:

    Personally, think the plan all along was to use this as an excuse to use the reconciliation process. The Dems can say they tried to negotiate but the Pubs wouldn't work with them. What little I saw was the Pubs getting cut off just as they started rolling good and the Dems getting unlimited time. Seemed that way, any how. Good post.

  6. Thanks Scot.

    You might be right. Under reconciliation, the Democrats have an opportunity to adjust the bill in a way that wouldn't have been supported under your typical legislative vote.

  7. Pingback: Health-Care Summit: GOP Demands Coke in The Water Fountains |

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