President Obama’s Healthcare summit, with both Republican and Democrat members of Congress, did little more than plague the opportunity for bipartisan healthcare reform. Congressional Democrats, and the Obama Administration, continued to disregard the concerns and objections harbored by Republicans; while Republicans remained steadfast in their opposition to a massive government takeover of healthcare insurance. The Obama administration, no doubt, hoped the summit would provide the Democrats with an opportunity to paint the GOP as obstructionists and petty reactionaries; but the daylong meeting may have had quite the opposite influence on the American public. (Video below.) The Democrat’s obvious disdain for Republican ideas and concerns were blatant, and at times, downright disrespectful. For an attempt at “bipartisanship,” the administration seemed grossly unwilling to pivot even slightly to the center of the issue.
The Democrats and the president dominated the speaking time of the summit. Of the 257 total minutes that Democrats controlled the floor, President Obama spoke for nearly half of it. Republicans, by contrast, controlled the floor for only 111 minutes in total. When confronted, after the opening remarks, about the gross imbalance of time, Obama responded “I don’t count my time, because I’m the President.” The audacity of assuming full control and utter dominance over a meeting aimed at bridging the differences between two strongly opposed ideologies is not shocking, but certainly appalling. And the imbalance continued. On a number of occasions Obama felt obliged to interrupt the pontifications of his political rivals by asking them to refrain from using “talking points.” The irony, of course being, often the opposition was doing little more than reading from the bill itself, or highlighting legitimate concerns over the massive legislation.
Obama chastised Lamar Alexander (R-TN) for citing the CBO estimate that privately held insurance policies would necessarily rise in response to government takeover; the president then ridiculed Representative Cantor (R-VA) for bringing with him the 2,400 page bill as a “prop”; and he even took a low blow at John McCain for criticizing the process by which the bill was crafted. For a majority party, that claims to have the support of the American people, the Democrats looked defensive and unwilling to concede any ground to the Republicans. For the most part the administration disregarded the majority of the Republican objections as petty partisan politics; the irony of course being partisanship was far more blatant by the Democrats defending a bill crafted entirely without the support of any GOP member.
When Lamar Alexander announced the concern of rising insurance cost in the face of the president’s proposal, Obama exchanged heated remarks in defense of his plan. Obama defensively explained the increase in cost was due to the fact that consumers would be purchasing an improved policy over their current inadequate insurance; but only after accusing Alexander of “painting with a broad brush,” and being “factually incorrect.” One of Alexander’s colleagues later read a letter, authored by the Congressional Budget Office’s Director Douglas Elmendorf, which clearly projected a rise of up to 13 percent by 2016 for private (unchanged) insurance policies. Even then Obama continued to defend his statements by continuing to allege the difference in cost was attributed to improvements in the plans. The simple point that Alexander was making was that cost would rise. Moreover, according to the CBO, the cost for privately held insurance would indeed increase with the passage of the reform; even without any change to policies.
Republican rep. Cantor found himself on the brunt end of the Administration’s ridicule when he brought a copy of the bill to the summit. Defending the size of his proposal, Obama explained “healthcare is a complicated issue.” Again, the president missed the point. Healthcare is a complicated issue. However, adding 2,400 pages of regulation, red tape, control and government bureaucracy will hardly be an effective way of fixing an already cumbersome system.
McCain surely got the most impatient response from the president. John McCain recited a laundry list of backdoor deals, closed door meetings, buyouts, bribes and special interest projects within the bill. (Video below) He accurately highlighted a large number of reasons the American people have rejected this bill in its current form. Obama responded by obtusely reminding McCain that “we’re not campaigning anymore,” and that the “election’s over.” Again, Republican concerns over the bill were completely disregarded without any serious Democrat consideration. (Mr. President, the way the bill was crafted has a lot to do with why Republicans and the American people have rejected it in its entirety.) Obama went on to demand that complaints about the process by which the bill was created be put aside. Does he not understand that the process by which the bill was created is much of the problem with the bill itself? McCain did more than simply gripe about being left out of the process, he explained the consequence was more pork, special interests, and bribes than could possibly be imagined.
But the summit was never really meant to solve anything. The Democrats refused to rule out the option of “reconciliation,” and they will most likely move forward on Monday to ram the proposal through the House and Senate. The Administration knew the end game before they even set foot in the room. The Democrats were not prepared to concede any of their agenda, rather they were hoping to find small provisions from the Republicans they could add to the monstrosity for sake of “bipartisanship.” True bipartisan actions could have been taken if the Democrats had agreed to begin the process over; this time with Republican support. The Summit was designed to make the GOP look like obstructionist partisans, but resulted in a staunch liberal agenda standing firm against reasonable and factual objections. The inability of the Democrats to consider their opponent’s remarks and concerns as genuine and applicable painted the GOP in a better light than they could have ever done on their own. Democrats are faced now with an unwavering opposition in both houses, and a strong disdain for the bill by the American people. Reconciliation would be the worst thing, politically, the administration could ask for. Moreover, their insistence on moving forward with reform to which the American people object, illustrates the controlling nature of this current Democrat party.
Do the American people really want a bunch of politicians obsessed with government takeover controlling their healthcare? The President and Congressional Democrats have shown a strong contempt for their opposition. How can a party with such blatant disregard for the will of we the people be capable of governing even more of our day to day lives?
Frank Luntz explores the the effect the healthcare summit had on the average American voter:
John McCain recieves a contemptuous response after listing objections to the Healthcare bill:
Both Colorado Senators are on record for supporting the current Healthcare reform package. Let them know that their cooperation in passing such a bill will not go unnoticed or forgotten. More importantly, remind them their allegiance is to we the people, not the President’s agenda.
The US Senators from Colorado are:
Mark Udall (D)
Washington D.C. phone number: 202-224-5941 (Toll free 877-768-3255)
Denver contact number: 303-650-7820
Michael Bennet (D)
Washington D.C. phone number: 202-224-5852
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