Rep. Mike Pence (D-Ind.) says of this week’s bipartisan health-care summit: “Sounds like the Democrats spell summit: S-E-T-U-P.” He’s right -- the Blair House summit is a trap. If the objective really was to produce bipartisan compromise, Obama would not be using legislation crafted in a backroom that got virtually no Republican votes as the basis for the discussions. Nor would his secretary of health and human services have declared last week that the White House is still willing to fight for a public option, a proposal that died because of bipartisan opposition in the Senate.
The president’s real objective is to paint GOP leaders as obstructionists -- so that Democrats have an excuse to ram through their health-care legislation using extraordinary parliamentary procedures. Obstructionism has been Obama’s mantra even since Massachusetts GOP Sen. Scott Brown’s election. Just last week in Denver, Obama declared that “for those who don’t believe in government, those who don’t believe that we have obligations to each other, it’s a lot easier task. If you can gum up the works, if you make things broken, if the Senate doesn’t get anything done, well, that's consistent with their philosophy.” This is dishonest. Republicans have a robust health-care agenda, from health savings accounts, to association health plans, insurance portability, and medical liability reform.
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