Republicans See Summit as Opportunity To Tout Market-Based Reforms
On Tuesday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Republicans would not offer a single comprehensive solution at tomorrow's health care reform summit as Democrats have asked them to do and expressed doubt that Obama and congressional Democrats "were acting in good faith," the New York Times reports.
The two leaders added that Republicans would attend the summit with very low expectations about its outcome (Pear/Herszenhorn, New York Times, 2/24).
That said, Republicans plan to use the summit to highlight their own health care proposals, which they say would use market power to expand coverage and control costs.Â Republicans also aim to use the summit as an opportunity to show voters that Republicans are serious about health care and have plans to address the issue.
According to the Washington Post, the GOP's leaders are "acutely aware of the stakes involved" in the summit, and they plan to depict Democratic reform proposals as extreme and too expensive (Murray/Bacon, Washington Post, 2/24).
Roll Call reports that Republican lawmakers and aides over the past 10 days have met privately to craft a "closely coordinated" plan to present at Thursday's meeting. As the meeting progresses at Blair House, a bicameral team of GOP leaders and staffers plan to provide a real-time online "fact check" of statements made by President Obama and the Democrats, while other Senate Republican members take to the chamber floor in rotation to deliver speeches on health care, according to Roll Call.
Republican lawmakers also are expected to make appearances on television, radio and online videos and blogs to speak about the summit (Kucinich/Stanton, Roll Call, 2/24).
Boehner also criticized Obama's new proposal for health reform, which is expected to be used as the starting point for the discussions at Thursday's meeting. He said, "The president has basically crippled the summit by coming in with a rerun of the same failed bill," adding, "I don't see how the American people will allow to it be passed."
Noting that the proposal includes provisions that would allow it to be passed through budget reconciliation, House Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) said, "It's hard for us to quite understand why, with reconciliation being planned, we're having a meeting which is allegedly designed to engender some bipartisan agreement for a way forward" (Epstein, CQ Today, 2/23).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.