Obama’s health care olive branch…or not

In a nationally televised interview before Sunday’s Super Bowl, President Obama declared he wanted to hold a health care summit between Democrats and Republicans to reach bipartisan agreement as to the future course of Obamacare.

From the Chicago Tribune.

What I want to do is ask them to put their ideas on the table and then after the recess . . . to come back and have a large meeting — Republicans and Democrats — to go through systematically all the best ideas that are out there and move it forward.

When asked for a comment, House Republican leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) said…

Obviously, I am pleased that the White House finally seems interested in a real, bipartisan conversation on healthcare.

Not so fast, Mr. Boehner.  After the president’s interview, a White House spokesperson said…

The Republicans are going to interpret this as we’re starting over. We’re not starting over. We’re coming in with our plan. They’re welcome to come in with whatever plan they’d like. But we’re moving forward.

So much for all the best ideas out there.  The White House “clarification” of the president’s comments seems to leave little doubt that the summit is only for show.  Based upon the “clarification” I’m guessing that, to the White House, “all the best ideas out there” really means the current proposed legislation is the best idea.

On another note, during the same interview, Obama said that this meeting should be televised to keep his promise of transparency on the health care debate.  Let me see if I have this right.  It was acceptable to the president that the backroom dealing to merge the House plan with the Senate plan – that, but for the election of Scott Brown (R-Mass.), would have become the law – be held behind closed doors.  But a fairly meaningless meeting held just for show must be televised.

Now, there’s transparency for you.

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The Sound Off Sister was an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and special trial attorney for the Department of Justice, Criminal Division; a partner in the Florida law firm of Shutts & Bowen, and an adjunct professor at the University of Miami, School of Law. The Sound Off Sister offers frequent commentary concerning legislation making its way through Congress, including the health reform legislation passed in early 2010.

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