Senate Democrats held back from asking President Barack Obama about healthcare reform during a carefully scripted question-and-answer session in front of television cameras.
With the cameras rolling, a group of senators selected in advance by the Democratic leadership asked questions about such topics as partisan gridlock and GOP obstruction.
But once the president left and reporters were escorted out of the room, senators pressed White House officials about healthcare reform, according to those at the meeting.
Democrats expressed their frustration with the lack of a clear plan for passing healthcare reform, according to one person in the room.
One Democratic senator even grew heated in his remarks, according to the source.
“It wasn’t a discussion about how to get from Point A to Point B; it was a discussion about the lack of a plan to get from Point A to Point B,” said a person who attended the meeting. “Many of the members were frustrated, but one person really expressed his frustration.”
Senators did not want to press Obama on healthcare reform in front of television cameras for fear of putting him in an awkward spot.
“There was a vigorous discussion about that afterward with some of his top advisers and others,” Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) said regarding the healthcare discussion.
“I think people were probably aware that there was no easy answer and this is being broadcast on live national television and didn’t want to put him on the spot,” Bayh said.
The Dog has been talking about this for a while……
Obama has to sell the Healthcare Bill…which is just too toxic fro Democratic Congressmen back home……there is no reason for them to put their careers on the line….
……while there probably isn’t too far to go…those last steps are fought with risk for legislators…….
National health spending accounts for the largest share of the U.S. economy since federal auditors began tracking the data in 1960, according to a new report authored by the Office of the Actuary, an independent auditing body at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and published online by the journal Health Affairs.
In 2009, national health spending made up a record 17.3 percent of the gross domestic product, a 1.1 percentage point increase from 2008, the largest-ever one-year increase reported, the CMS actuaries report based on preliminary estimates.
This year, the actuaries expect healthcare spending growth to slow to 3.9 percent and predict the economy will grow by 4 percent, which would ameliorate the consequences of 2009. Those projections, however, assume that Congress will not step in to prevent a 21.3 percent cut in Medicare payments to doctors, which is not likely. Were lawmakers to block those steep cuts, healthcare spending would grow by 4.7 percent this year.
Private-sector healthcare spending this year will increase by 2.8 percent, according to the actuaries. The chief reasons are expected continuing loss of health coverage due to unemployment and the expiration of the COBRA subsidies enacted by the stimulus bill.
The report does not consider what effect the pending healthcare reform bills would have on national healthcare spending.
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