President Obama hosts bipartisan health care summit

08:22, February 26, 2010      

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U.S. President Barack Obama Thursday kicked off a bipartisan health care summit in Washington, D.C., where over 30 Democratic and Republican lawmakers would discuss how to bridge their differences on the top issue of the country's political agenda.


U.S. President Barack Obama Thursday hosts a bipartisan health care summit in Washington, D.C., where over 30 Democratic and Republican lawmakers would discuss how to bridge their differences on the top issue of the country's political agenda. (Xinhua/AFP Photo)


Eighteen Democrats and 14 Republicans from Congress participated in the meeting held at the Blair House near the White House, including bipartisan leaders in the two chambers and heads of Congress committees playing roles in the process of health care legislation.

White House officials including Vice President Joe Biden and Health and Human services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius are also at present.

The meeting is broadcast live across the nation and features four major themes, which are cost control, deficit deduction, insurance reform and expanding coverage, according to the White House.

In his opening remarks, Obama urged bipartisan lawmakers to " look at some fundamental structural problems in economy."


U.S. President Barack Obama(R) and Vice President Joe Biden listen at the bipartisan health care summit Thursday in Washington, D.C.. (Xinhua/AFP Photo)


"This is an issue that is affecting everybody, it's affecting not only those without insurance but its affecting those with insurance," he said. "I think this concern is bipartisan."

He expressed the hope that Democratic and Republican lawmakers can focus on what they agree instead of what they disagree.

The House of Representatives and the Senate has separately passed their own version of the health care reform bill but the unified version was stalled in Congress after Scott Brown, a Republican, won the special election for a Senate seat in Massachusetts, ending Democratic Party's supermajority status in the floor.

Obama released the White House's proposal on the health care reform on Monday and called on his rival party to also present their own version.

However, Republicans demanded to "start from a clean sheet of paper" and opposed to push forward with it by a partisan way.

"This is a car that can't be recalled and fixed and we ought to start over," said Lamar Alexander, a Republican senator from Tennessee, at the summit, "we've come to the conclusion that we don't do comprehensive well."

He also said that the U.S. is "too big and too complicated" to be managed by a central government.

In their defense, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told the meeting that it is too late over on President Barack Obama's proposed health care overhaul, and the White House's proposal already included Republican opinion and deserve their support.

A national poll released on Wednesday by CNN and Opinion Research, 48 percent of Americans believe that lawmakers should work on an entirely new bill, while 25 percent said Congress should pass legislation similar to the bill passed by the two chambers. Another 25 percent said Congress should stop all work on health care reform.

Source: Xinhua
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