March 2nd, 2010
02:46 PM ET
4 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. Chas in Iowa

    C'mon Mister President,
    "– commit $50 million to fund state initiatives designed to reduce medical malpractice costs;"
    This is not an issue for anyones benefit barring big insurance itself. The total cost of all medical based lawsuits is less than one half of one percent of the cost of health care. Lets quit wasting time.
    Put the public option back in the bill and run it through without the GOP. They got voted out for a reason.
    You got voted in for a reason and it wasn't to waste time trying to talk the GOP into changing their point of view and supporting the American public.
    They have their own agenda and it is centered around corporate greed at all costs.
    Get on with it already!!!!

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

    Obama embraces GOP health care proposals

    GOP health care proposals?

    "Just don't get sick" is a healthcare proposal?

    March 2, 2010 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  3. get real

    The Republican idea is to have federal investigators go undercover to look for fraud? Isn't that big government? Isn't that what you all are afraid of? Some secret government agent sneaking around in your doctor's office. This seems very similar to the Bush plan to require librarians to report anyone who checks out books on islam or jihad or anything that might be "suspect". Another great Republican idea. Aren't you folks the party of small government?!?! Remember, "keep the government out of my medicare!" ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

    March 2, 2010 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  4. File under "Sarcasm"

    So now Obama's willing to put lipstick and earings it, BUT IT"S STILL A PIG!

    It still contains all the deals for the Democratic Senators and the Unions. It still fails to address the cost of healthcare other than by artifical price caps. It will still bankrupt this country.

    March 2, 2010 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  5. Tim

    Someone please provide the Republican leadership a definition of "compromise" and "bi-partisan." Neither means they get everything they want. If they continue to hold out for that, they will have plently of time to look up definitions after the next elections...

    March 2, 2010 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  6. FRANK, LAS VEGAS

    No matter what the democrats do or offer, the GOP still says NO. It's obvious that the GOP do not care about the American people, just politics. I say since the GOP says no to everything that we should just ignore them and the democrats should ignore them as well. We don't need them, they are not doing their job so lets boot out all the republicans in November. Who needs them? Certainly not the American people.

    March 2, 2010 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  7. Anonymous

    I think McConnell and his fellow Republicans think the word
    Bi-partisan is a sexual term. They think ony abstentance can cure it.
    What other possible excuse could they have for always saying NO?

    March 2, 2010 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  8. GOP = "I hoe he fails"

    There you go Mr. President. Keep trying. I'm sure Lucy will hold the ball in place THIS time. ; -/

    March 2, 2010 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  9. I WANT MINES

    well it is a start

    here is one

    malpractice suits; patient receives lifetime health care for the condition
    the attorney gets 10% and the huge amount for penalty goes back into the pot to pay for health care i bet there wont be too many lawyers chasing ambulances then they are the ones that make out in the deals
    you want cost controls? there is a start

    March 2, 2010 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  10. Ben

    Obama won't "embrace" any Republican idea. As usual he's long on talk and short on substance.

    March 2, 2010 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  11. It has begun-

    Yeah & Pigs will fly!
    If you don't have money to spend, would you go charging up credit cards?

    March 2, 2010 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  12. File under "Sarcasm"

    A more appropriate headline would be "Obama pays lip service to GOP health care proposals." Tell him he needs to include an apple pie and he'll provide a page reference to a cook book and claim he's included the pie.

    March 2, 2010 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  13. Robert

    Once again, Obama is the only player showing a willingness to negotiate in good faith. In fact he's negotiated away too much. I hope the Dems use Reconciliation... It's time to use the same tactics the GOP used to get their agenda through...

    Enough olive branches already. Get it done and move on to the next item Mr. President...

    March 2, 2010 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  14. Enough is Enough

    Regarding medical malpractice this is another you lie moment the article said

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

    This is the same as spending money to determine why water freezes. We already know what works in states with medical malpractice reform and the trial lawyers hate it.

    As long as the trial lawyers are more important to Obama and the dems than taxpayers meaningful tort reform is not happening. Both of the current house and Senate bills punish states financially that implement tort reform that could limit attorney fees. Imagine that the bills make the reform environment worse for states. The other measures if adopted would be good. What they really need to do is throw the 2500 bill in the trash where it belongs and start over. The current proposals are much more about a new entitlement than reform. Has anyone figured out the future cost of adding 12 million illegals that Obama promised "a path to citizenship" to.

    March 2, 2010 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  15. WeThePeopleofVirginia

    Watch the Obama “slight-of-hand” . . . undoubtedly he will point out how the GOP requirements will add to the deficit while the Democrats continue to reduce.

    This is all “Hocus-Pocus Economics”.

    March 2, 2010 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  16. gljeast

    The American People have NOT said they do not want this Health Care Bill, it is the biased media in ceartain large cities and states reporting that the people don't want it, NOT the people saying they don't want it, some group has taken over and is trying to convince people that they dont want it, STOP and think, who was it at the Tea Bag Parties, and at the town hall meetings that were on the news networks??? 90% of those that spoke out against it are retired and already on medicare!!! They were convinced to assemble and speak out against an issue that did not even concern them. Did they ask the currently employed people that DO NOT have health care??? NO..... Did they ask the unemployed?? NO. Who did they ask ??? As many people as they could that the healht care bill would not affect whether it passed or not. Go Figure!!!!

    March 2, 2010 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  17. ran

    Mr. President enough is enough. You have done all you can and the Republican even if you were to put everything they wanted and took our everything the Democrats/people want in a bill the republicans would still not vote for a bill.

    Give us health care reform now by putting the public option back in or even better give us single payer universal now.

    March 2, 2010 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  18. L for Legend

    And the repugs will still vote against the health care plan.

    March 2, 2010 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  19. Len (Colorado)

    The GOP will never agree to anything! Reason: They only care about the insurance companies, big business nad the upper 2%. The rest of us ...tough!

    For those of you who donot beleive the above statement: How is Senator Bunning treating your friends that are unemployed and need COBRA for their families!!!

    Instead of us listening and beleiving the Tea Party and the right wing talking heads....we should vote out the GOP!

    Wake up America and voice your concerns about the party of NO!!!

    March 2, 2010 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  20. AJ

    Of course he does. Obama is the worst thing to happen to dems since Carter. Incompetence abounds!!

    March 2, 2010 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  21. Victim of GOP Taliban

    Good ideas. Too bad 90% of the Republicans would prefer playing games and making useless political commentary instead of working on real solutions to fix healthcare. Obama has the right idea, ask for participation and if you Republicans rather not...then your loss.

    March 2, 2010 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  22. stevegee

    ObamaCare will end up just like the U.S. Postal Service - inept and bankrupt.

    Wait till they decide to cut Saturday surgeries to close multi-billion dollar budget gaps. It'll be a first-class mess!

    March 2, 2010 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  23. Ron in California

    Let's face it the DEMS have backed themselves into a corner on this issue. Their incompetence makes me worry about many other issues like natioinal securtiy. They had the majority in both houses and couldn't get the job done and they want to balme the Repubs. The problem is leadership..Obama, Reid anf Pelosi. Bipartisanship start with the Majority party...when you want to see twho the problem is just look in the mirror.

    March 2, 2010 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  24. Crazy Harry

    How surprising that GOP (Grand Obstructionist Party) was unable to see anything positive in this.

    Now we know for sure that they have no intention of working together.

    What a bunch of slugs!

    I'm embarrassed to live in in a country with these clowns as representatives.

    March 2, 2010 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  25. Age of Reason

    And with all this reaching out, the republicans still won't be on board. Why, because they want him to fail, at all costs.

    March 2, 2010 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
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