Policy-ish

Obama Plans Televised Health Summit With GOP

Which Super Bowl ad really grabbed our attention? Not Google's or even Audi's Green Police spot, which people seemed to love or hate.

For us, it was President Obama's pitch for health overhaul in a pre-game interview with CBS News' Katie Couric. The biggest development? Obama plans a televised summit meeting of Republicans and Democrats to be held on Feb. 25.


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He laid out a few more details of his plan to restart health overhaul and underscored its importance, even after the effort stalled in the wake of Republican Sen. Scott Brown's election in Massachusetts last month, ending the Democrats' filibuster-proof majority in the Senate.

The health challenges facing Americans haven't been solved, Obama said. Take a look at the plans of a California insurer to raise premiums on some individual policies by as much as 39 percent, he said. The Los Angeles Times has more on that here.

We're not sure that a Hail Mary call for public bipartisanship will make a profound difference so late in the overhaul game. The president, as much as anything, seems to be neutralizing GOP gripes that he didn't live up to a campaign promise to broker a health care deal in the open and with Republicans at the table.

Republicans maintain that any deal on health would require shelving the already passed House and Senate bills and starting from scratch.

While welcoming the invitation for a conversation, House Republican leader John Boehner said in a widely reported statement, "The best way to start on real, bipartisan reform would be to scrap those bills and focus on the kind of step-by-step improvements that will lower health care costs and expand access."

Still, Obama may be banking on a boffo performance, like the one he pulled off at a Republican retreat last month, to make something happen.

His recent budget proposal and fresh estimates on the ever-rising proportion of the economy devoted to health care appear to be part of his political calculus. "Bending the cost curve on health care," he told Couric, "is the important thing we can do to deal with the deficit long term."

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