Barack Obama took advantage of the super-sized Super Bowl pre-game audience to propose a televised half day bi-partisan summit on health care reform later this month. "I want to ask them to put their ideas on the table, and then after the recess, which will be a few weeks away, I want to come back and have a large meeting, the Republicans and Democrats, to go through systematically all the best ideas that are out there and move it forward."
Obama posed the questions he has for the Republicans: "How do you guys want to lower costs? How do you guys intend to reform the insurance market so that people with pre-existing conditions, for example, can get health care? How do you want to make sure that the 30 million people who don’t have health insurance can get it? What are your ideas specifically?"
Obama said that when he talked about the "best ideas out there", he was starting from the bills passed by the House and Senate, not from "square one" as preferred by the Republicans.
Referring to an Anthem Blue Cross price increase of 39% on indiviudal plans, Obama asserted that "it's going to keep on beating down families, small businesses, large businesses; it's going to be a huge drain on the economy. We're going to have to do something about it, and I think we can."
"The biggest thing - - the most important thing that we can do on deficits is to get a health care reform package passed. The package that we put together, the Congressional Budget Office says will cut the deficit by a trillion dollars. Even in Washington that's real money."