I have to admit, I had low expectations for this week's televised "bi-partisan" White House Health Care Summit. Given the current impasse on national reform, the political timidity of Democrats and the dug-in stance of Republicans, how could Obama's much-hyped public event on Thursday be the catalyst for any sort of substantive, far-reaching legislation?
But something has changed. The news on the front page of The New York Times today that Obama is seeking federal oversight of health insurers' rate hikes (see Anthem's 39% price increase in California) shows that the President is willing to make a bold, albeit risky, move that instantly shifts the nature of the debate. Is Obama finally taking control of the health reform agenda? Will the public — naturally outraged by rising health care costs, and quick to blame the insurance industry — finally get why reform is important? Will the GOP find a way to attack Obama's plan, perhaps, as The Times says, by pointing to rising costs that will continue with or without health care reform?
Here's the full text of Obama's health reform proposal, which includes elements of bills that passed both the U.S. House and Senate, and is brought to you by Kaiser Health News.
As for the politics of the proposal, stay tuned.
This program aired on February 22, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.