Washington (CNN) – President Barack Obama extended a bipartisan olive branch to GOP leaders in the health care debate Tuesday, stating in a letter that he is willing to consider several of their ideas in a compromise plan.
Specifically, the president said he may be willing to:
- commit $50 million to fund state initiatives designed to reduce medical malpractice costs;
- allow undercover investigations of health care providers receiving Medicare, Medicaid, and other federal programs;
- boost Medicaid reimbursements to doctors in certain states; and
- include language in the final bill ensuring certain high-deductible health plans can be offered in the health exchange.
The president said his decision to consider the GOP ideas was a result of last week's health care summit.
"The meeting was a good opportunity to move past the usual rhetoric and sound-bites that have come to characterize this debate and identify areas on which we agree and disagree," he wrote. I "left convinced that the Republican and Democratic approaches to health care have more in common than most people think."
GOP leaders were unsatisfied with Obama's concessions. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, said the president's ideas were little more than a few items "inadequately addressed in a 2,700-page bill."
McConnell repeated GOP calls for Congress to re-start deliberations from scratch. "If the majority manages to jam this (bill) through ... it will be the issue in every single race in America this fall," he promised.
Obama is set to lay out a political road map for passage of sweeping health care legislation on Wednesday, according to White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs.
Among other things, Obama is expected to advocate for an "up or down vote" in Congress if necessary, Gibbs said Monday.
Multiple Democratic sources have told CNN that the emerging consensus plan is for the House of Representatives to pass the Senate bill and send it to Obama. A package of changes that mirror the president's plan would then be passed through both chambers under reconciliation rules, which require only 51 votes in the Senate.
Democrats lost their 60-vote, filibuster-proof Senate majority in January, when GOP Sen. Scott Brown won the Massachusetts Senate seat previously held by the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, a Democrat.
Observers note, however, that it remains unclear exactly which health care provisions can be approved under reconciliation, which is reserved for legislation pertaining to the budget. Republicans have angrily criticized the Democrats' potential use of reconciliation, arguing that the maneuver was never intended to be used for major policy overhauls along the lines of the health care bill.
Democrats should "think twice" about using reconciliation, New Hampshire GOP Sen. Judd Gregg warned Tuesday.
Obama's mid-week remarks will also deal with the "substance" of health care reform, Gibbs added. White House aides say the president's speech will largely mirror the nearly $1 trillion compromise package he laid out one week ago. It may, however, be scaled back in some aspects, they added.
–CNN's Suzanne Malveaux contributed to this report
It is time to give up on the worthless lying crap from the GOP.
This just shows that the republicans were never conducting an honest debate. They wouldn't even be satisfied if Obama proposed every piece of reform they suggest unless he also suggested that he appoint one of them as temporary president to sign it into law, with a bunch of signing statements providing plenty of loopholes so that insurance companies could just go ahead with business as usual.
Olive branch?? This guy is a joke! He is not a bit interested in "good insurance" or whether even all the people are really insured, just want to be able to say "I passed health care reform". Sad. This deficit will bankrupt the country and then what will it matter? We'll all be in deep do do except for HIM!
JUST SAY NO,the party of NO and proud of it.The GOP said start over/the American people said start over,either start over or perish.The Mezziah is power hungry and wants to ram this down the throats of America,glad the GOP will stand up for the people.
Why bother? You could adopt every one of their ideas and they would still find a reason to be negative. No Republican cares whether anyone gets health care or not. Their only mission is to tear down the President and block anything he does. Then, of course, every Republican campaign ad will be filled with accusations of Obama "not getting anything done." Ignore them, there is NO pleasing them, they are only at the table to throw feces.
What part of NO does Obama not understand?The people said start over and Obama does not listen,he is on his march to power regardless of what the citizens want.Stop him now.
Enough is enough! Dems need to move forward to finally make something happen on health care reform. If the brakes are put on now, nothing will ever happen, especially when the party of NO is involved. Reps have caused trillions of dollars of future nightmares via unbudgeted wars and the Bush tax cuts.
NOthing will satisfy the Repubs except scrapping the bill and starting over. In other words, keep the status quo which is driving the country to financial ruin via rising health care costs. Once again the Repubs are the party of "Let them eat cake."
Like my mother use to say, if you don’t want what Im giving you then you don’t have to have anything at all! Conversation over GOP!
Obama is such a hollywood actor,he has not embraced anything but his own ego.He wants to make a showing at everyone's expense,Obama cares about Obama.Stop him in his tracks.
They should "think twice" about using reconciliation.... or what? The GOP will refuse to participate in government? Which will be different from the last 14 months........ how, exactly?
Obama could lay a golden egg and they still wouldn't be happy.
President Obama, take their ideas that work and pass the bill.
They want failure for America Mr. President. Bunnings actions for the last couple of days prove that.
Vote Democrat or Independent come November.
I watched Gregg in 2005 on the senate floor defend the use of reconciliation by the republicans, and he certainly wasn't thinking twice about the effects of that republican partisanship we have been witnessing this past year. He forgets, the health reform passed the senate with 60 votes, and future amendments only need 51 votes to be enacted.
Time for reconciliation! How many times will the President offer an olive branch to people he knows have no intention whatsoever of compromising on healthcare? It's time to get-er-done!! Americans are hurting. Meanwhile the GOP is playing games with unemployment benefits and jobs. Let's see how wonderful that turns out to be for the poor saps who were counting on that little pay to keep the house or feed the kids. GOP. Ha! Must stand for Give Others Problems. Move on Mr. President. "Blue Dog" democrats, prepare to find another line of work...
He could do whatever the repubs want and they would still oppose it because they do not want anything good to happen during this administration.
Trying to throw the Republicans a bone so they'll support this disaster he is trying to pass off as Health care reform? throw this crap out and start over with REAL reform, that includes TORT reform.
Mr. President, at all times please be reminded of the Republicans initial rresponse – "LET'S BRING HIM DOWN WITH THIS ONE". So even upon your taking some of their inputs in the health care reform package, they are still FIGHTING.
Please ignore them and do what is right for the American people by providing them health care reform
Go away Republicans. Just go away.
Let me guess; The party of NO wants to "scrap the current bill" that represents a "government take over of health care" that the "american people don't want" and instead they want to "start over" so that they can go "step-by-step".
Wow I have my talking points DOWN! When can I be a guest on Fox News????
When you start with a compromise, you end up with the compromise of a compromise, which is essentially what President Obama is offering. Too bad, this is not change I can believe in.
I would like statistics on how much taxes the liberals that want this healthcare bill pay vs. the people that do not want it.Easy to spend someone elses money,like a entitlement receiver wanting more entitlement money.
If we're embracing GOP ideas, then they should embrace a public option if they truly want to cut cost.
I am still confused as to why he even tries to reach out to the GOP.
All they want to do is get back in power. They don't care about governing.
Same goes for the Dems when Bush was in office. Obama should just ram it through.
Obama's position here is characteristically thoughtful and cautious, and generous to his opponents. But the Republicans all seem to be following Jim Bunning's lead at the moment.