Can He Have A Cigarette Now?
Obama, in his closing remarks, is delicately saying that Dems will move forward without Republicans. He says he doesn’t know whether the gap between Dems and Republicans can be bridged; and adds that “baby steps,” i.e., GOP incrementalism, simply won’t do.
The message is subtle, but unmistakable: Dems will move forward alone.
The fact of the summit may have helped reassure wavering House Dems to vote for the bill. The actual discussion within the summit didn't really do much of anything, although I have nothing against it at all as an exercise in democracy. Next step I guess is putting the president's compromise into legislative language, getting a CBO score, and then finally finding out whether Pelosi has enough votes. We'll know soon.
Kate Pickert gives Rep. Ryan and the Republicans points for highlighting budget gimmickry in the health care bill. Ed Morrissey is guardedly optimistic about the GOP's performance:
The risk going in to the summit wasn’t that Republicans would get trapped into a bill they opposed. It was that the media attention that follows Barack Obama would give Republicans the media platform for their own principles and proposals.
Continetti is less bashful:
Rep. Paul Ryan, Republican of Wisconsin, just launched a full-bore assault on the faulty assumptions behind the claim that the Obama health care plan will reduce the deficit. Obama didn't even bother questioning Ryan's presentation. He changed the subject to Medicare Advantage. The expression on the president's face as Ryan made his case was absolutely priceless. Simply put, he looked like someone who realizes he's met his match.
Ezra Klein shows, contra Rep. Eric Cantor, that both parties define what "essential health benefits" are when writing legislation:
[T]here is no disagreement over whether someone needs to define, in broad terms, what counts as health-care insurance. Republicans do it in their bills, Democrats do it in their bills. Cantor is creating a philosophical dispute out of something more properly understood as a practical question, and it's much harder to compromise between philosophies than over operational details.
Matt Welch was underwhelmed:
Are you the type of normal American who hasn't spent hours today watching our nation's best and brightest pretend that they're having a discussion that will ever lead to legislation, about health care? From what little I understand of it, the purpose seems to be for President Barack Obama to be able to say that at least the Republicans around the table agreed that proposed regulatory increases don't literally mean "total socialist takeover," the gist of which he has said on multiple occasions (including when asked during a break to summarize the day's events).
On the long-term outlook, the Republicans get an F, because they are still being demagogic on Medicare cuts. The Democrats get an F-, because they want to use Medicare cuts to create a new entitlement. Also, President Obama repeated the talking point that the whole issue is excess health care cost growth, when in fact the excess cost growth really kicks in big time (under standard assumptions) after 2030, by which point the U.S. government will already be unable to keep its financial promises because of the doubling of the number of people over age 65 and the big debt we already have.
Jake Simpson rounded up other reactions.
(Photo: Shawn Thew- Pool/Getty.)