On Thursday, President Obama will host a bipartisan healthcare summit. In advance of that summit, the White House has decided to highlight the absence of a specific Republicans plan:
You can read through [President Obama's] bipartisan ideas section by section, or you can select your health care status and find out what the proposal would mean for you. You can even submit a question for our policy staff to answer.This post represents a shift in strategy by the White House. President Obama's new communications strategy will include more aggressive engagement with his political opponents. Although the post sometimes comes across as "taunting," it will probably score some points with people who want more substance (in whatever form) and less criticism. It is important to note, however, that President Obama only posted his specific reform plan this week, and his failure to do so earlier led to criticism among Democrats.
What you can’t do just yet is read about the Republicans’ consensus plan – because so far they haven’t announced what proposal they’ll be bringing to the table. To be sure, there are many Republicans who share the President’s conviction that we need to act on reform, and there are several pieces of Republican health care legislation out there. Previously we were told this was the House Republican bill. Is it still? We look forward to hearing whether this the proposal they'll bring. The Senate Republicans have yet to post any kind of plan, so we continue to await word from them. As of right now, the American people still don’t know which one Congressional Republicans support and which one they want to present to the public on Thursday.
President Obama has been clear that his proposal isn’t the final say on legislation, and that’s what Thursday’s meeting is all about. But after a year of historic national dialogue about reform, it’s time for both sides to be clear about what their plan is to lower costs, hold insurance companies accountable, make health insurance affordable for those without it, and reduce the deficit. A collection of piecemeal and sometimes conflicting ideas won’t do.
As we said today, we’ll be happy to post the Republican plan on our website once they indicate to us which one we should post. We hope they won’t pass up this opportunity to make their case to the American people.