Lawmakers Square Off on Healthcare Reform

Republicans dismiss summit as 'political theater'

President Barack Obama led a bipartisan group of lawmakers in what he’s hoped was a “frank and honest” conversation during Thursday’s healthcare reform summit at the historic Blair House. But on the eve of the event, which focused on controlling costs, insurance reforms, deficit reduction and expanding coverage, Republicans were dismissed it as “political theater.” House Minority Leader John Boehner (Ohio) has assembled a GOP truth squad to respond to fact-check Democrats during the summit and to highlight Republican solutions.

For months, Republicans have urged Democrats to start the reform process from scratch; the Republican National Committee released a video Wednesday morning titled “Scrap It.” Earlier this week, the president offered his own healthcare proposal, a move that some have said may have come a year too late.

It’s unlikely that Republicans will leave the meeting backing Democratic ideas and Obama will probably pick up just one or two GOP suggestions, just to show he tried. But if he hopes to revive both his signature issue and his ratings, he will need to make a much stronger case for reform to convince American voters—and members of his own caucus–that it’s been worth the yearlong fight.

The six-hour, televised event is being broadcast on CSPAN and streamed at http://www.whitehouse.gov/live.

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