Tomorrow’s health reform summit is meant to be a bipartisan effort to bring together all the ideas out there about health reform and try to come to some kind of solution. President Obama has been talking the summit up for some time, and gives the impression that it’s going to be the turning point in the debate.
But will it? The American public certainly doesn’t think so. According to a poll on USAtoday.com, 77 percent of adults said their “best guess” is that Republicans and Democrats will not come to an agreement during the meeting at the Blair House. And if the political atmosphere in Washington D.C. is any indication, that 77 percent of Americans is absolutely correct.
For weeks now, Democrats have been threatening to use reconciliation to bypass the Republican filibuster and pass the legislation with only 51 votes instead of the usual 60 necessary. Republicans are understandably outraged at the proposition, calling it “a last-ditch sleight of hand” and claiming that Democrats may not be able to muster support for even a simple majority anymore. Meanwhile, Obama has released his own plan for health reform, which bridges the differences between the House and Senate plans and includes provisions for a national insurance marketplace.
So it seems that the government is still quite divided on the issue. Will a one-day discussion be enough to bring them together? Will it simply drive them even further apart? Or will it bring everyone right back where they started from? After more than a year of debate on the issue, it seems seriously doubtful that all of the problems will be solved in one day. Rather, the summit seems like it will serve as an airing of grievances, a chance for key Congress members to get all of their gripes off their minds, yet again, and to hash out their differences – something they’ve been doing to the press for many months now.
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Heather Trese is the associate editor of the Agent's Sales Journal.