Health Care Half-time Analysis

At the lunch break, what’s next?  If the purpose of the summit is as President Obama has said many times – to find common ground and points of agreement – then that mission has been accomplished. 

So far, five Democratic speakers including the President and Secretary
Sebelius have praised Dr. Coburn’s recommendations to root out
waste, fraud and abuse in our health care system, which could
immediately lower costs and improve access.  

Senate Majority Leader Reid now has a choice.  He can start over and go to work on this point of agreement and any others that may emerge this afternoon.  Or, he can try to ram through a partisan all-or-nothing bill through reconciliation and prove that the summit was nothing more than political theater and a showcase of talking points.  

Democrats contend they are doing much of what Dr. Coburn proposes.  If that is the case, why not work together and get something done?  Why jeopardize accomplishing something with a divisive strategy – reconciliation – that will likely accomplish nothing?  

Dr. Coburn spelled out his ideas eight months ago, yet Majority Leader Reid and others spent all of last year pretending Republicans had no ideas.  Had the President hosted this summit a year ago many of these points of agreement would have already become law. 

Majority Leader Reid can now make a bad situation worse, or he can make a bad situation better. 

It will be interesting to see which path he chooses.