Daily Archives: February 25, 2010

Anna Fifield

Hold the front pages! Mr Obama’s healthcare summit – a seven-hour marathon that was notable for the level of petty politicking – resulted in no agreement.

Anna Fifield

The Republican press offices have been in overdrive today. As John Boehner, the minority leader in the House, made his contribution to the healthcare summit, slamming his hand on the 2,400 page bill brought in as a prop by Eric Cantor, his office put out a statement slamming the “job-killing healthcare proposals”.

Anna Fifield

In spite of what was said by Harry Reid, the Democratic leader in the Senate and one of those charged with banging lawmaker heads together, reconciliation is increasingly looking like the only way to advance healthcare reform legislation.

Anna Fifield

The president, contrary to earlier White House assertions that he would line up with his plate at the Blair House buffet, has gone back to the White House for the lunch break.

Anna Fifield

After three hours of testy exchanges, it’s time for bickering Republicans and Democrats to take a lunch break. Your correspondent’s efforts to find out what would be on the lunch buffet led to nothing – apparently that’s classified – but we can probably assume there won’t be any high fructose corn syrup of transfats. Although the lawmakers do have the insurance to deal with it.

Anna Fifield

The first session, on cost containment, showed the challenges that lie ahead in the healthcare summit. Senator Lamar Alexander claimed that the Congressional Budget Office reports that the Democratic healthcare plan will lead to an increase in insurance premiums, a point that Mr Obama took issue with. This led to a testy to-and-fro between the two, as Mr Alexander interrupted the president to quote the CBO’s findings and Mr Obama suggested the Tennessee senator had read the report wrong and that the CBO had instead said that more people would be able to buy better (and therefore dearer) insurance.

Anna Fifield

Republicans made a smart choice in selecting Lamar Alexander, a Republican senator from Tennessee, to make their opening statement at the summit. Mr Alexander has a history of bipartisanship and has on occasion voted with Democrats, a record he alluded to in his remarks.

Anna Fifield

The much-hyped healthcare summit had the air of a Group of Eight leaders’ meeting when it got underway on Thursday morning, complete with chandeliers and an army of aides. President Barack Obama walked into the picturesque Garden Room at Blair House, across from the White House, just after 10am.

President Obama today stages his latest attempt to advance the $950bn (€700bn, £616bn) 10-year healthcare reform bill, when he hosts a marathon televised summit in Washington with his Republican opponents.

This blog will host regular updates from Anna Fifield, US political correspondent.  Clive Crook will share his views on the summit later.

Read Clive Crook’s post – What is the health summit for?

Clive Crook’s blog

This blog is no longer updated but it remains open as an archive.

I have been the FT's Washington columnist since April 2007. I moved from Britain to the US in 2005 to write for the Atlantic Monthly and the National Journal after 20 years working at the Economist, most recently as deputy editor. I write mainly about the intersection of politics and economics.

Clive Crook’s blog: A guide

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