On Fox News' America's Newsroom, Major Garrett said President Obama indicated during a press conference he "will start talking to Republicans and incorporating their ideas in the health care debate." In fact, as Obama recently indicated during his January 29 question and answer session with House Republicans, several GOP ideas have been incorporated into the current health care bill.
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From the February 10 edition of America's Newsroom:
GARRETT: The question I asked was about health care reform and whether or not the House and Senate bills that the president was once so proud of in fact could pass. He conceded the Republicans' point that they couldn't, and though he said he wouldn't start from scratch, he will start talking to Republicans and incorporating their ideas in the health care debate.
Obama at House GOP Q & A: "I have" accepted GOP ideas in bill
Obama: "[W]hen you say I ought to be willing to accept Republican ideas on health care, let's be clear: I have." During Obama's question-and-answer period of his House GOP retreat visit on January 29, Obama stated some of the GOP ideas on health care reform that are included in the current Senate bill, such as: "creating a high-risk pool for uninsured folks with preexisting conditions"; "Allowing insurance companies to sell coverage across state lines"; "creating pools where self-employed and small businesses could buy insurance"; "let[ting] kids remain covered on their parents' insurance until they're 25 or 26"; "incentivizing wellness"; and "creating an affordable catastrophic insurance option for young people":
This is a big problem, and all of us are called on to solve it. And that's why, from the start, I sought out and supported ideas from Republicans. I even talked about an issue that has been a holy grail for a lot of you, which was tort reform, and said that I'd be willing to work together as part of a comprehensive package to deal with it. I just didn't get a lot of nibbles.
Creating a high-risk pool for uninsured folks with preexisting conditions, that wasn't my idea, it was Senator McCain's. And I supported it, and it got incorporated into our approach. Allowing insurance companies to sell coverage across state lines to add choice and competition and bring down costs for businesses and consumers -- that's an idea that some of you I suspect included in this better solutions; that's an idea that was incorporated into our package. And I support it, provided that we do it hand in hand with broader reforms that protect benefits and protect patients and protect the American people.
A number of you have suggested creating pools where self-employed and small businesses could buy insurance. That was a good idea. I embraced it. Some of you supported efforts to provide insurance to children and let kids remain covered on their parents' insurance until they're 25 or 26. I supported that. That's part of our package. I supported a number of other ideas, from incentivizing wellness to creating an affordable catastrophic insurance option for young people that came from Republicans like Mike Enzi and Olympia Snowe in the Senate, and I'm sure from some of you as well. So when you say I ought to be willing to accept Republican ideas on health care, let's be clear: I have.
Ezra Klein: All four "planks" of GOP health care plan are in the Senate bill
Klein: "I don't think it's well understood how many of the GOP's central health-care policy ideas" are in Senate bill. In a February 8 blog post, Washington Post blogger Ezra Klein wrote that the "four planks" on health care laid out on the House Republican Conference's website are all included in the Senate bill, specifically the website's call to "Let families and businesses buy health insurance across state lines," "Allow individuals, small businesses, and trade associations to pool together and acquire health insurance at lower prices, the same way large corporations and labor unions do," "Give states the tools to create their own innovative reforms that lower health care costs" and "End junk lawsuits." Klein also wrote that the excise tax included in the Senate bill "does virtually the same thing" as President Bush's 2007 proposal to cap the tax break for employer-sponsored insurance, and that the bill is "a private-market plan" that does not include the public option.
Previous Senate bills included numerous GOP amendments, reflected bipartisan meetings
Senate bills had numerous GOP amendments and reflected bipartisan meetings. According to a HELP Committee document about bipartisan aspects of the health reform bill the committee passed July 15, the final bill included "161 Republican amendments," including "several amendments from Senators [Mike] Enzi [R-WY], [Tom] Coburn [R-OK], [Pat] Roberts [R-KS] and others [that] make certain that nothing in the legislation will allow for rationing of care," and reflected the efforts of "six bipartisan working groups" that "met a combined 72 times" in 2009 as well as "30 bipartisan hearings on health care reform" since 2007, half of which were held in 2009 [HELP Committee document, 7/09]. And according to the Senate Finance Committee's document detailing the amendments to the Chairman's Mark considered, at least 13 amendments sponsored by one or more Republican senators were included in the bill.