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. liberal wingnut

    Yes but he wants to just add it to the already 2000 page bill.

    March 2, 2010 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  2. Nick

    That's really moving the needle – $50,000,000 out of a $950,000,000,000 bill. That's true bipartisan incorporation.

    March 2, 2010 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  3. Janice

    Obama talks out of both sides of his mouth.Wants pay-as-you-go until it does not suit him.Wants to reduce debt and form a committee to do it,then the next day spends 15 billion in Nevada with his good friend Harry Reid.Critizes Bush for the bonus payment on wall st.,then says it is ok,these guys work hard.WILL THE REAL OBAMA PLEASE STAND UP.

    March 2, 2010 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  4. proud mother and sister of a soldier

    This is just another democratic ploy to further promote their label of Repub as "obstructionists". Anyone who watched the summit saw their was no intention of changing the plan as it stands. The president was not interested...very evident. As Pelosi said, "it will be passed without any republicans". Biden was quoted in an interview as saying, "the american opinion does not matter, only his"'. This is an administration dividing this country. The republicans do want health care reform. They were not invited to the closed door meetings when the bill was drafted. The dems don't even know how much this will cost without how they will pay for it. Thye only area they said cuts will be made to pay for this is medicare....the very people who need it the most. There is no logical approach to health care reform in the Obama plan. Of course, this is coming from a fiscally responsible person who believe you only have what you can afford. The sad thing is, the majority of the voters do not want this bill but the Progressives are listening. Look up the dfinition of a progressive.....not a direction I want this country to go.

    March 2, 2010 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  5. Tom

    Republicans will not accept this compromise. They will not accept it no matter what. They have been instructed by the Insurance companies to delay this matter as much as possible and make a fuss about it, accuse the democrats of all sorts of things so that they score political points. But Kudos to Obama for trying. The American people should see that no matter what the GOP will not cooperate. They were very vocal about saying that obama should fail so it should come as no surprise to anyone that they will not sign on to the compromise.

    March 2, 2010 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  6. Sam Sixpack

    Too bad this bill is designed to let pharmaceutical companies suck all the money out of health care.

    Are you allowed to print this?

    March 2, 2010 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  7. Sniffit

    Yeah, whatever, he could have told them to go write the bill themselves and he'd sign whatever they generated without reading it and they still would complain. There isn't enough Desytine on the planet to keep these pantwetters from getting a bum rash.

    March 2, 2010 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  8. Mike

    The key is he is willing to CONSIDER several of their ideas in a compromise plan. And he admitted during the summit he already new about the Republican ideas, so it was NOT a result of last weeks Health Summit.

    March 2, 2010 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  9. Jon

    I agree with McConnell. Talk about throwing a dog a bone. Obama, Pelosi and Reid have no intention of giving the Republican's anything. What does it take to convince the country that these people are nothing but garden variety socialists and now that they have taken over the financial system they are going after medicine and after that Rahm will invent a new emergency, very similar to the role played by Goebbels, so that the federal government can take something else over. Hope all you liberals are happy with what you got in the election.

    March 2, 2010 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  10. Andy

    Obama does not want jobs for America,he wants America to be a total welfare nation with complete Socialist rules.He avoids the jobs issue and works on the socialization of healthcare for 14 months.Took a year to even talk about the need for jobs.Maybe the GOP can stop him and his run away spending mentality.

    March 2, 2010 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  11. Dar

    We all want HC reform, just not how it is currently writen in the bill as it stands. There has to be a middle ground or the people will not accept that the goverment knows what we need and want.
    Odumbo is a crafty little weasel and he is trying to kiss up to the Repub's now that he thinks there may be failure. I dont trust him for a second after all the stunts that he and the Dems have tryed to pull off over the last year when they thought that they were in control.
    Peeholesy is still saying that she wants to stick this down our throats but I dont think that she has the votes yet.
    If we keep medeling around with this bill much longer the American people are going to erupt, we need job creation before we need HC reform. With out jobs who will be able to pay the premiums?
    We can work on reform after we stabilize our country. It just take a little common sense.

    2010/2012 REAL Change is coming

    March 2, 2010 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  12. Jim

    Of course they would respond that way. Only way the Republicans would be happy is if there was no reform. Then they could all do their happy dance and boast how they beat Obama.

    Message to Republicans, you are looking worse every single day that you continue to attack the attempts at bi-partisanship. Just like the Dems not responding to you, you not responding to them will cost you in November. Just wait...

    March 2, 2010 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  13. Scott S.

    If he's serious, this is the man we voted for. And if this healthcare bill gets through, in a truly bipartisan fashion with compromises, it will go a long way in restoring everybody's faith in Washington. However, I still feel like Republicans will still say no to this, because their goal is to gain power, not help Americans.

    March 2, 2010 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  14. rob

    "Specifically, the president said he may be willing to: "

    Needs to be repeated......."May be willing to"

    This amounts to nothing. Thanks CNN for telling us that Obama "EMBRACES" Republican Health Care Proposals.

    The Republicans have stated over and over that we need to start over, that this bill raises spending, raises taxes and cuts medicare only to fund a new entitlement program that the country can't afford.

    What a crock this news organization is.

    Nov. can't come fast enough.

    March 2, 2010 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  15. The lonely Libertarian of Liverpool NY

    No Government take over of health care is going to be constitutional. You can not force free citizens to purchase any product of private industry, "We the People" still have the right to have insurance or not.

    March 2, 2010 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  16. Jesse in Maryland

    This is it? This is "bipartisan" reform? Yeah, $50 million dollars in a trillion dollar bill is a big concession. The only worthwhile concession made in this "olive leaf" is the high-deductible plans. This olive leaf can't cover up the rest of this debacle.

    Kill this bill and start over!

    March 2, 2010 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  17. Marc

    It's plain stupidity to believe that the Dems would embrace the GOP point of view on that (or any other) matter completely. As it is to believe that the GOP will embrace the Dems point of views...
    But, since there is no 'USA of the GOP' or 'USA of the Dems', both sides has to reach some understanding.
    And at the very least, very least indeed, the Dems are trying to use some of the GOP's ideas in their plan/bill. If the GOP work it right they can put MORE of their ideas in the Dems' plan/bill.
    But that's not seems to be the case in here...

    March 2, 2010 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  18. beevee

    I am certain that the GOP leadership will never be pleased with the presient's reaching out efforts and considering their view points in amending the health care bill. It seems to me it is their way or no way. They have been opposing so far everything that he democratic adminstration has tried to do. he should just ignore them and move forward with his agenda.

    March 2, 2010 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  19. Annie, Atlanta

    This bipartisanship nonsense is starting to get annoying. When is the President going to realize that the GOP wants him to fail (does that mean they want all of us to fail, too, or that they don't care one way or the other). That way those of us disgusted that the things we voted for didn't come to fruition will either vote for them, the GOP, or not show up. I know the President is brilliant. Either he's getting bad advice or he doesn't have common sense.

    And here's a better solution than tort reform. A board of judges that determines if a lawsuit is viable or frivolous. You can't take away a person's right to compensation for serious mistakes, can you? You start putting limits on this stuff, and we're going to see more mistakes.

    March 2, 2010 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  20. Bjoerlingfan

    There's your Republican version of bipartisanship: "ditch everything YOU want and instead do what WE want."

    All the Republican leadership ever does now is complain endlessly about how the Democratic leadership is being stubborn and has been unwilling to compromise on the health care debate. This is such blatant hypocracy–the public option was taken out to appease Senate Republicans; Obama has just taken five issues that are important to GOPers, and that were not being considered before, and made it a point to lobby for their inclusion. But apparently that's still not enough. Well, you know what? It'll NEVER be enough. It won't be enough until the Dems cowtow to the Repubs and accept THEIR version of "reform". Um, who are the stubborn ones? This makes me sick.

    March 2, 2010 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  21. Gia in Los Angeles, CA

    It doesn't matter how many concessions the Dems make - even if they use ALL of the Repubs ideas; the Repubs will still scream bloody murder and vote against it.

    March 2, 2010 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  22. donttreadonme

    Obama and his pals will do just about anything to take over healthcare. Right and wrong do not exist in his world, it is all legal or illegal for our Commander in Lawyer!

    March 2, 2010 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  23. Average American

    The President is still leading by example. Thank you Mr. President for leading by example. Look, whether the Republicans vote for it or not...it is a bipartisan bill. I just think it's funny that their ideas are included and they still won't vote for it...not one of them. Talk about sheep, geez!

    March 2, 2010 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  24. buckwheat

    Why has no one tried to reform the health care plan our government employees and our Congress enjoy? You can bet your sweet bippy you are not seeing government employees and Congress people attending any Tea Parties. Put them on our plan now and watch what a real earthquake can do to our infrastructure.

    March 2, 2010 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  25. lucy2

    I watched the health care summit, and there were good, common sense ideas coming from both parties, and there was common ground.
    It's upsetting to hear that even with the inclusion of many of their ideas and the removal of many more left ideas like the public option, the GOP won't budge an inch.
    It's become clear to me that it has nothing to do with providing the best health care system possible to the citizens of the US, and is all about "winning" and politics. They aren't willing to make ANY compromises, probably for fear of a bill actually being passed and Obama "winning".

    So to protect party interests and inflated egos, they refuse to play ball, and it's the citizens and economy that are suffering.
    I'm VERY fortunate to have both a job and health insurance, but my mediocre plan premiums have gone up over 30% in the past couple of years, and that comes out of my overall compensation.

    March 2, 2010 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
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