WASHINGTON (CNN) –- The Republican National Committee slams President Obama’s plan to reform the nation’s health care system in a new television ad that is set to air Wednesday on national cable television.
The RNC also offers thinly-veiled criticism of ABC for broadcasting a live presidential town hall meeting Wednesday on the issue of health care, but not including GOP national leaders in the event. The RNC does not name ABC, but mentions that the president will appear on a "national TV network" to discuss the issue. Republicans have accused ABC of promoting Obama's health care plan, pointing to the extensive coverage the network is giving the subject on its morning, evening and late night newscasts. The network has denied the charge.
This is the RNC's first TV ad of the 2010 election cycle. It will not release further details about the ad buy, but the script hints that it will only run on Wednesday - timed to coincide with the ABC town hall.
Washington (CNN) - Negotiations between key Democrats and Republicans in the Senate over health insurance co-ops as an alternative to a government-run health plan were at an impasse Monday over how much federal government involvement there should be in the creation and running of the co-ops, according to senators and aides involved in the talks.
The negotiations could hold the key to bipartisan compromise.
Most Democrats want a heavy federal presence to ensure the co-ops can adequately compete with the big insurers and help drive down costs, but Republicans say they will back co-ops only if the touch from Washington is very light. Republicans say anything more that that is akin to the government-run proposal they uniformly reject.
"It's clear they are not talking about anything close to a national plan with enough clout to keep the insurance companies honest," said Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-NY.
Schumer, an influential member of the Democratic leadership, has been working behind the scenes on a co-op plan that Democrats can live with.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - A Senate committee began the arduous work Thursday of debating and amending the first comprehensive health care bill to come before Congress this year.
The measure before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee is one of at least four expected proposals for overhauling America's ailing health care system.
At issue is how to best reduce the cost and increase the reach of the current health care system, which officials say is increasingly draining personal, corporate and government budgets while leaving 46 million Americans without health insurance.
President Barack Obama has made the issue a top priority, warning that failure to act now would bring far worse economic difficulties than the costs of plans under discussion.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Overwhelmed by problems trying to write a bill overhauling the nation's health care system, the Senate Finance Committee will postpone votes on the legislation until after the July 4th recess, two Democratic Senate sources confirmed to CNN.
The decision, which one source described as not 100 percent final, is a setback for Democrats who wanted the bill out of committee before the recess so the full Senate could have the entire month of July to debate health care reform.
Key stumbling blocks for the Democrats who control the committee include the high overall cost of the bill and the lack of any solid Republican support for the measure in its current form, one of the sources said.
The bill is different from the one the Senate HELP Committee took up Wednesday. But those two bills are expected to be merged in hopes of getting a final bill to President Obama by Oct. 15.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - House Republicans on Wednesday presented what they called a "sorely needed" alternative to Democrats' proposals to overhaul health care.
Republicans want to make sure all Americans have access to affordable coverage, Rep. Eric Cantor, the House minority whip, said Wednesday.
"We do so by making sure we keep down costs and incorporate the ability for folks to pool together to access lower costs, to bring private sector into the game and keep government out," Cantor said.
Neither Democrats nor Republicans have detailed how they would pay for their proposals. Rep. Roy Blunt, R-Missouri, said his party's plan will cost "far less" than that of the Democrats and "provide better results for the American people."
(CNN) – Organizing for America, an arm of the Democratic National Committee dedicated to mobilize supporters around President Obama's agenda, is launching a new campaign to fight "special interest lobbyists and partisan ideologues" who are against reforming healthcare.
In an e-mail to supporters Thursday, Organizing For America Director Mitch Daniels writes, "Special interest lobbyists and partisan ideologues will now go into overdrive, spreading distortions and twisting arms in D.C. to water down the final plan - or stop it entirely."
Daniels also asks for contributions. "With your support, we can train volunteers, hire organizers, place ads, hold local educational events, bring constituent voices straight to Congress, and make sure your real life stories are heard louder than the lobbyists' spin," he writes.
(CNN) – A health care policy adviser for the McCain campaign told a newspaper reporter that nobody in the United States is technically uninsured, because everyone has access to hospital emergency rooms.
"So I have a solution [to the health care crisis]. And it will cost not one thin dime," John Goodman, president of the National Center for Policy Analysis, told the Dallas Morning News in an interview published Thursday.
"The next president of the United States should sign an executive order requiring the Census Bureau to cease and desist from describing any American – even illegal aliens – as uninsured. Instead, the bureau should categorize people according to the likely source of payment should they need care. So, there you have it. Voila! Problem solved."
Hospital emergency rooms cannot technically turn away anyone for financial reasons.
"So instead of producing worthless statistics that people fling around in vacuous editorials and pointless debates, the Census Bureau should produce meaningful numbers, identifying all of the sources of funds people will draw on if they need medical care," said Goodman, who helped write McCain’s health care plan.
That plan would use a combination of tax incentives and market competition to make health care more affordable. It is not a universal health care plan – it does not guarantee insurance coverage for every American.
Read more: Goodman talks to the Dallas Morning News
Take a look: Candidates' health care plans
UPDATE: McCain's campaign says they do not consider Goodman to be an official campaign adviser.
(CNN) - A day after Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Jr's speech at the National Press Club, Sen. Barack Obama decided that Wright is all wrong.
In the latest episode of CNN=Politics Daily, Suzanne Malveaux reports on Obama's effort Tuesday to cut his ties with Wright in the hopes of limiting the political fallout from Wright's return to the public spotlight.
Sen. John McCain also laid out his plan for health care reform Tuesday. Dana Bash reports on how the Arizona senator would like to treat the nation's ailing health care system.
Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider has another report about health care. Schneider takes a look at how health care is increasingly becoming an economic issue for voters.
Carol Costello does a reality check on proposals by Sens. McCain and Hillary Clinton to provide a federal gas tax holiday.
Finally, Wolf Blitzer gives you an update about whether Sens. Clinton and Obama stand with the Democratic Party's all-important supderdelegates.
Click here to subscribe to CNN=Politics Daily.
(CNN) – Elizabeth Edwards, wife of former Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards, is picking sides in the Democratic nomination race – at least with respect to health care. In an interview that aired Wednesday on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” she threw her support behind Sen. Hillary Clinton’s health care plan.
“In order to ensure that we have universal coverage, we need to say everybody has to join,” Edwards told ABC’s Robin Roberts. “So, for that reason, the mandates that Sen. Clinton is talking about, I think are going to be more successful in achieving the goal,” she added.
Both health care plans have the same goals, said Edwards, but “I just have more confidence in Sen. Clinton’s policies than Sen. Obama’s on this particular issue.”
(CNN) – Three supporters of Sen. Barack Obama took the opportunity, in a conference call with reporters Thursday, to suggest Sen. Hillary Clinton and former President Bill Clinton have not been candid with the American public.
Texans “are gonna want people to shoot straight. They’re gonna want straight answers,” said Texas State Senator Kirk Watson.
Citing Sen. Clinton’s latest campaign theme focused on ‘solutions,’ Watson also said residents of his state are going to asking whether Clinton’s health care plan is actually offering solutions or, instead, raising more questions – including how Clinton would enforce the individual coverage mandate in her plan.
Asked by a reporter about an ongoing issue regarding candidates releasing their tax returns, former U.S. senator Bill Bradley linked Sen. Clinton’s refusal to release her tax returns with her failure to disclose what the individual coverage mandate in health care plan would cost.
Representative Jim Cooper of Tennessee followed Bradley saying memos relating to Sen. Clinton’s earlier effort to reform health care during her husband’s administration also have not been disclosed.
“And, as long as we’re on the issue of full disclosure, President Clinton also hasn’t revealed who were the contributors to his presidential library while he was still in office,” added Bradley.
Texas is set to hold its presidential primary on March 4 and Clinton must do well there to keep alive her bid for the Democratic nomination. In 2006, Texas had the highest rate of uninsured residents of any state in the nation, according to the American College of Emergency Physicians.
Sen. Clinton has recently sought to contrast her health care plan with Sen. Obama’s during campaign stops and debates. Former President Bill Clinton also attacked Obama’s health care plan as inadequate while in Texas Friday.
The conference call was held on the same day that Clinton released a new radio ad in Wisconsin touting her health care plan. Wisconsin holds its presidential primaries on March 19.
–CNN Associate Producer Martina Stewart