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. Rick McDaniel

    Yeah, right. I doubt there will be any trace of them, in the final bill.

    March 2, 2010 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  2. johnrj08

    Mitch McConnell is transparent. The President took the Republican ideas expressed in the summit and has expressed a willingness to include them in the health care bill. What a surprise that McConnell's immediate reaction is that it's still not enough. NOTHING that the President could do, short of resigning from office, would satisfy this ideologue and his right-wing cohorts. No matter what the President's letter would have said, it wouldn't have been enough.

    March 2, 2010 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  3. Bryan P

    Let's do this!

    March 2, 2010 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  4. Kevin

    "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". Granted, the bill is excessive but this is just one more reason why the GOP should not be given any concessions. Even when agreed to, they give the President the middle finger. Ram and through and work out the problems later. No different than the GOP would do.

    March 2, 2010 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  5. Kevin

    sorry, ram IT through...

    March 2, 2010 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  6. Viet.

    Mr President have you not learned, anytime you agree or accept any GOP proposal they will not vote for it even if they propose it. I wonder , could it be that you are a highly educated inteligent black man which they can't accept or may be they fear you. I guess we will never know however being the product of the Civil rights era, it sure looks familiar.

    March 2, 2010 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  7. gl, From Pittsburgh

    No matter what President Obama give to the Repubicans they are not going to vote for it because they don't want it PERIOD! GOP=TALIBAN

    March 2, 2010 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  8. mike

    Looks like President Obama is trying to forge bipartisanship regarding health care; however, if the Republican side still does not want to compromise...I'm really starting to believe they truly want zero compromise and want to say "NO". If there is an ulterior motive by the Republicans in the Senate shame on them for not putting the Country first rather themselves.

    March 2, 2010 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  9. Robin in Tampa, FL

    Mitch McConnel and his fellow Republicans are not even voting for their own bills ... so why waste time trying to find Bipartisanship?

    March 2, 2010 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  10. In the West

    OK. Obama took out the public option, and is now open to including more of the Republicans ideas for health care reform. We are all now watching to see if the party of "no" continues to block reforms the American people need and want (insure the uninsured; lower cost insurance for out-of-pocket payers like me (self-employed). The ball's in your court, Republicans. If you blow this I hope the backlash will keep you out of the White House and the majority for the rest of the century.

    March 2, 2010 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  11. JDD

    These are the "olive branches"? Well, I can't help but notice two things:

    Take the first item mentioned as an example of differences of scale:

    "– commit $50 million to fund state initiatives designed to reduce medical malpractice costs"

    $50 million, out of a 1 trillion proposal? Does everyone realize how much larger a trillion is than a million?

    The second thing I can't help noticing is the way that this article uses the words "specifically" to describe the list of concession points, and then describes those points with words like "certain states", "(will) include language", and "certain plans." This sounds like a list thrown together in the hopes it will sound significant.

    March 2, 2010 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  12. Angie in PA

    Watch the Republicans bash their own proposals what a sad bunch going against their own agendas just to destroy this President and the Democrats or to keep their lobbyisit money flowing? WAKE UP TO THE GAMES OF THE REPUBLICANS AMERICANS!

    March 2, 2010 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  13. eolufemi

    Completely unnecessary. He's already put republican ideas in the bill. Now its time to put some truly progressive items in the bill like a public option.

    Either way, I appreciate the gesture and hopefully independents out there recognize that the President is the only that's actually serious about bipartisanship.

    March 2, 2010 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  14. Nick , California

    Slow traffic move to the right! Its sad to see the Republicans using the "no" mentality to get elected or re-elected! What a bad plan to use fear and hate to move your agenda.. I have a couple of questions for the GOP:

    1) What would Jesus do? You are Christians right?

    2) Are you willing to pay for your own insurance instead of me paying for you? You are fiscal conservatives right? Everybody for themselves right?

    3) Being advocates for less government in our lives.. do think its the governments job to create a job for myself?

    4) Do you think that Medicare is a socialist program?

    Stop the hypocrisy just for power ( both parties) .. If there ever was a time to put the childish games aside to do the peoples business.. its now!!!

    March 2, 2010 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  15. Willy Brown

    You'd better put both lips around it Barry.

    March 2, 2010 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  16. Mitchell from MS

    So because he takes 4 GOP ideas and adds them to a bill written entirely by the Dems this is compromise? Only in a dream CNN! Down with this communist healthcare bill

    March 2, 2010 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  17. Frank G.

    Why doesn't he just raise his middle finger to Republicans instead? I say pass health-care reform through conference and give the medical community what they deserve.

    Psst. Just don't let them see what is going on with Mass Health Care and what their future is. I hope Docs can get use to driving Escorts and Accords and living in 1400sqft houses and being paid like teachers. I guess it needs to happen one way or another.

    March 2, 2010 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  18. Dave

    Of course GOP leaders aren't satisfied. The only thing that would satisfy them is for the Democrats to roll right over and include everything the GOP wants. This is what is known as "bipartisanship" to the GOP. Of course, this only applies when the GOP is in the minority.

    The GOP has had mnay opportunities to offer real solutions and negotiate in good faith. They have sqaundered all of these opportunities. The thing that they don't realize is that they lost. All they can do is whine and throw barbs in the media. Why should the Democrats work with them? They are nothing more than a group of spoiled brats who have to sit on the sidelines while the Democrats have to fix the GOP's messes. Again.

    March 2, 2010 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  19. terry,va.

    What a misleading headline and article. The 4 points that Obummie is talking about doesn't have any teeth. For example, he is sitting aside more money ($50 million) to STUDY tort reform. We have states now that have it. Nothing to study. In order for it to mean anything you must have specific language that says for example....if malpractice is proven and the case results in death then an award can be no higher than the expected earnings the patient would have earned in his/her lifetime capped by another 1/3 of that amount for punitive damages. If no earnings are involved then a reasonable amount of punitive damages should be awarded. Specific language could be written about other types of outcomes. Language should address frivolous lawsuits and penalties for bringing one of those cases. This would stop crazy awards and people from bringing junk lawsuits. It would also stop scum sucking attorneys from ambulance chasing and lobbying.

    March 2, 2010 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  20. Bibek

    I can see GOPers somehow turning this around against the President. No matter what Obama does, he wont get a single Republican vote.. NONE.

    March 2, 2010 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  21. Al-NY,NY

    Well it's now plainly clear that no matter what Obama does, short of "starting over" which will not happen, the party of NO will continue to hold strong to it's principles of obstructing ANYTHING the POTUS does

    March 2, 2010 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  22. wright

    $50 million to fight frivolous law suits in a >$1 bill is like peeing on a forest fire.

    This plan is still awful.

    50-90% of the problem could be solved with 10% as much legislation. This is about an Obama agenda.

    March 2, 2010 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  23. Lisa P

    GOP leaders were unsatisfied with Obama's concessions.

    Well surprise, surprise!, as Gomer Pyle used to say.

    GOP congressmen and congresswomen who actually want to solve the problems of this country need to start abandoning their leadership in this matter, pronto. As McConnell the Useless notes, this is going to be an issue in every single race this fall. Woe unto those on the wrong side of history!

    March 2, 2010 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  24. Rickster

    lolol....seriously? And you think republicans should go along with this bill based on Obama's weak, vague "maybe" on these issues? First of all the bill still stinks. Secondly, I wouldn't trust Obama and Pelosi as far as I could throw them.

    March 2, 2010 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  25. The Unsub

    good....now pass it already!!!

    March 2, 2010 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
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