U.S. health summit goes live, deal unlikely

on February 25 2010 10:09 AM

After more than a year of debate on health care reform, President Obama has convened top political leaders in Washington today for a six-hour televised discussion likely to reveal to an even wider audience already firmly entrenched opposing views.

New laws proposed by Congress Democrats would expand the number of people in the U.S. who are covered by health insurance, funnel premiums more directly to 'actual care,' and promote wellness and preventive care.

Congressional Republicans, however, have primarily focused their opposition to the expense of the proposals and growing government influence in the sector.

Both chambers of the Democratic-led Congress have already passed health bills, with relatively minor differences remaining between House and Senate versions.

On Monday, President Obama proposed his version of health care reform, which largely mirrored the Senate Version.

Republicans

Obama's proposal was blasted by the top Senate Republican Mitch McConnell of Ohio, who said it was hardly a starting off point for a bipartisan discussion on common sense reforms.

Obama really doubled down on the existing bills, top House Republican Leader John Boehner, also of Ohio, said this week.

Democrats

Top House Democrat Nancy Pelosi of California commended Obama's proposal, saying it had positive elements from the bills already passed, a sentiment top Senate Democrat Harry Reid of Nevada has also expressed.

When the summit was announced earlier this month, Reid said Senate Democrats will not relent on their efforts for reform.

(The summit, which begins at 10 a.m. local time, will last 6 hours. It will be carried live online at C-span.org and on television on CNN.) 

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