2010 White House health care summit

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Convened by President Barack Obama, the one-day 2010 White House health care summit, held on 25 March 2010, was a face-to-face meeting among Democratic and Republican lawmakers from both houses of Congress.[1] As opposed to the 2009 White House Forum on Health Reform, there were no representatives of interest groups, but a concentration on the political process. Both sides agreed the current health care delivery system is broken and that there are severe problems with the proposed legislation.

CNN described the exchange as spirited, civil, but making little progress; they quoted the President as saying "I don't know, frankly, whether we can close that gap." Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) said "Frankly, I was discouraged by the outcome," and urged the Democrats to "start over and go step by step and target the areas of possible agreement that we discussed in the meeting today."[2]

President Obama mentioned Republican congressman Paul Ryan as having serious proposals. Ryan, a fiscal conservative, has made overall budget plans that have not been accepted by the Republicans in Congress.[3] He spoke on limiting Federal regulation of insurance, describing the Republican position as

By federalizing the regulation of insurance and by mandating exactly how it will work, you make it more expensive and you reduce the competition among insurers for people's business.

We want to decentralize the system, give more power to small businesses, more power to individuals, and make insurers compete more. But if you federalize it and standardize it and mandate it, you do not achieve that.

That's the big difference we have. [4]


  1. Shailagh Murray and Anne E. Kornblut (26 February 2010), "At health-care summit, Obama tells Republicans he's eager to move ahead", Washington Post
  2. "Health care summit ends without apparent movement forward", CNN, 25 February 2010
  3. Chris Cillizza (25 February 2010), "Winners and losers from the health care summit", Washington Post
  4. Paul Ryan (25 February 2010), "Rep. Paul Ryan makes remarks on insurance regulation at White House health summit", Washington Post