March 2nd, 2010
02:46 PM ET
5 years ago

Obama embraces GOP health care proposals

 President Obama on Tuesday said he may be willing to consider several Republican health care proposals.
President Obama on Tuesday said he may be willing to consider several Republican health care proposals.

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


Filed under: Health care • Mitch McConnell • President Obama
soundoff (130 Responses)
  1. Tom

    Why is this president forcing on the american people something that they do not want? We have 180 million people with insurance that they like. We have 20 million people who choose not to buy insurance, or say they can't afford it. So Obama's plan is to screw 180 million people out of the insurance they currently have and like, so that 20 million can have free (subsidised) health insurance. I think it is safe to say, that any politician who even remotely endorses Obama on any issue because of this socialist takeover of our freedoms will be voted out. You don't beleive me? the new jersey governor endorsed Obama and was voted out, the virginia governor's candidate endorsed Obama and lost, the massachusetts attorney general running for TED KENNEDY'S OLD SEAT endorsed Obama and lost, that seat was held by democrats for over 50 years dating back to when JFK held it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 2, 2010 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  2. Fiscal Responsibility

    Nice forst move, now cut the bill in half cost wise and lets do the best we can with that budget.

    March 2, 2010 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  3. A Democrat - Another Day - Another Lie

    What is the LIE of the day today? What is Bush getting blamed for today? Which poll was wrong today? What did the GOP hold the dems back on today?Another day,another lie for the dems.

    March 2, 2010 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  4. jordan bell

    they even say no to themselves...

    March 2, 2010 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  5. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    This seems to me that the Republicans won't bother to try to work on what's already on the table. They have no interest in doing this.

    March 2, 2010 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  6. Jeremy in Albuquerque

    Do it. Thanks Pres

    March 2, 2010 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  7. Bugl3t

    "GOP leaders were unsatisfied with Obama's concessions."

    What else is new? The GOP have been "dissatisfied" since Nov.4, 2008. Nothing President Obama or the Amercan people do will change that until we just vote the party of no and all the blue-dogs out of office.

    While the GOP are playing their game and throwing their hissy fit tantrums... Americans everywhere are suffering. But, then, it's very obvious that unless you are rich or run a corporation, you just don't matter to the Party of No.

    Let's outsource THEIR jobs, take a way THEIR health insurance and do away with all THEIR perks and benefits and see how they like it.

    March 2, 2010 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  8. John W. Olver

    It doesn't matter what concessions the President makes, Republicans will vote "NO" on anything in order to damage him politically. They believe short term devastation for the country is fine if they can win the 2010 elections. Compromise is not part of the Republican plan.

    March 2, 2010 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  9. VAVoter

    HELLO AMERICA!!!!!! IT ONLY TAKES 51 VOTES TO PASS A BILL! NOT 60! If the Democrats have to use the Reconciliation bill to get around the Republicans insistence on using the Filibuster which was NOT intended to be used like spoiled rotten kindergarteners who can't have their way, then so be it, because it only takes 51 to pass the bill anyway...This is not shoving anything down anyone's throat. That's a bunch of Republican hooey! AND I hope is does become an issue in every election coming up, so that we can highlight the infantile, imature, juvenile and assinine behavior that the Republicans have exhibited since Nov. 2008. By the way Mr. McConnell, your threats do not scare anyone. I for one will be glad that we were able to get Healthcare reform done, because it is something that has been kicked down the road for decades and is badly needed.

    March 2, 2010 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  10. How To Bankrupt America-Put A Dem On It

    Obama wants to know what comes after a trillion? Obama/Democrats never seen a bill they could not bankrupt America over.Spending money like a drunk sailor on a no limit credit card.

    March 2, 2010 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  11. Diana

    Why is he still trying. He's tried to appease these morans and each time he extends his hand, they slap it back at him. Give up and just pass it without them!

    March 2, 2010 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  12. I voted for Obama and proud of it in Oregon

    give the republicans a big hug , then pass the BILL and get the president to sign it and the world as we know it will change to more avordable coverage hope fully a public program with out insurance companies involvment :)

    March 2, 2010 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  13. Randolph Carter, I'm no expert but....

    What reform is left in this plan? He's conceded pretty much everything to the neoclowns and they're still not happy. Get a clue, Mr. Prez, they will never be happy with anything you do, so ignore them and ram through anything that will send them completely ballistic, just like they do when they're in power. Because it's so much fun to watch them squirm. But you won't, because you have as much of a vested interest in maintaining the status quo as they do. I'm about this close to never, ever voting for a candidate from your lesser-of-two-evils corporate sellout party ever again. As the teabaggers say, November will be very interesting.

    It'll be great to watch our entire healthcare system implode when this cobbed -together joke of a plan fails to reform anything. Then maybe we'll get single-payer not-for-profit like the rest of the developed world. Have a nice day!

    March 2, 2010 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  14. Linda-Omaha

    "Starting over" in the debate just defies all LOGIC-it's like saying lets reinvent the wheel. Mitch and John just get stuff in their cramped little heads and won't let it go. Even when it is clear our President is willing to add some very important pieces of legislation to this bill, at the suggestion of the Republicans–it's not good enough. I say, please ram it through, Congress that is, but while you're at it Dems, go ahead and ram it in the faces of the Repubs, or elsewhere. They rammed the war and much more to us.

    March 2, 2010 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  15. Voice Crying In the Wilderness

    Mr. President, why do you continue to try to reason with these Republicans? It's obvious to most right thinking Americans that they are intent on blocking anything you put forward. We voted you President. Go ahead and do the right thing. Get the Health Reform Bill passed, with or without the Republicans.

    March 2, 2010 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  16. Josh

    Congress needs to quit voting on party lines and vote for what is in the majority of their states own best interests, while The Senate needs to vote for whats in their countries best interests, this is what we hired these people to do, not to be good Republicans or Democrats but to do what is right for the people not the party and if they can not do that then I say Vote them out!!!

    March 2, 2010 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  17. Seth

    Mr. President let this be the last concession you give to the "Party-Of-No", because the GOP will never agree to anything you propose, they want nothing done. – Just ignore the "Party-Of-No" and get the job done!

    Mr. President you can listen to those GOPers who ran the country into the ditch before and will try to do it again, if you let them – Or you can listen to us the American voters who put you in office to solve big problems.

    March 2, 2010 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  18. Gary

    President Obama is not being genuine. This is a healthcare reform bill that will cost hundreds of billions of dollars and yet he offers only $50 million to support state-level healthcare reform? That is a joke. His contributions from trial lawyers prevents him from supporting real reform. The American public will see through this fake olive branch. We need SERIOUS malpractice reform or there is not healthcare reform. We need a SERIOUS plan to train more doctors or we'll continue to have patients who cannot get care. We need the ability for insurance companies to work across state lines and the ability to reimport medications from Canade. We never got the change that we were promised so now we have to vote these Dems out of office. This article is pathetic.

    March 2, 2010 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  19. Bridget

    Geez, the GOP are such BABIES! Every time words come out of Mitch McConnell's mouth, I hear whiny baby crying. Please use reconciliation, Dems. I can't take much more of the GOP temper tantrums.

    March 2, 2010 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  20. Jim

    even when the president is CLEARLY willing to work with the republicans, all they can do is complain.

    i'm fed up with their obstructionist behaviour.

    March 2, 2010 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  21. sonny chapman

    Maybe if Obama promised to jump off of a bridge , the Repubs. could back this conservative health care reform package-I'd want that guarantee in writing.

    March 2, 2010 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  22. Laurie

    We'll see what this move to inspire bipartisanship inspires in the Republicans. Kudos to President Obama, but I fear that the party of no will continue to obstruct good reforms for the American people, because in their small minds it is all about November. They have no shame.

    March 2, 2010 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  23. Dean

    Even if he put every Republican idea and demand in this bill they would sill vote no on it. Why because they are sore loosers and the part of NO

    March 2, 2010 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  24. Glennis

    – commit $50 million to fund state initiatives designed to reduce medical malpractice costs: This makes no sense. Why not tort reform and end the frivilous lawsuits. Legitimate lawsuits can stand on their merit.

    – allow undercover investigations of health care providers receiving Medicare, Medicaid, and other federal programs: How about investigating some of the people receiving the benefits of these programs. How about addressing some of THAT fraud.

    – boost Medicaid reimbursements to doctors in certain states: Whose states get this little favor? Does mine or yours?? Or will our states have to pay for those with favored status?

    – include language in the final bill ensuring certain high-deductible health plans can be offered in the health exchange: Without being penalized for it?

    More nonsense offered up as reform.

    March 2, 2010 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  25. James Miller

    Get it done. If we listened to the Republicans, there would never be any changes except raised rates, higher deductibles, less coverage. They had 8 years to work on this and move their plan. Where were they then????

    March 2, 2010 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
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