The White House has formally invited the Congress to attend a televised legislative debate over healthcare reform scheduled for February 25th in the nation’s capital. “Like a duel, there are formalities laid out. Who should attend: Senior House/Senate leadership, chairmen and ranking members of relevant congressional committees, four additional members, plus one staff member specializing in healthcare policy. Metal detectors at the door of Blair House. (Just kidding about that.) Order of business: Opening remarks by the President, then remarks by Democratic and Republican leader designated by their respective political parties. Then a discussion to be moderated by the President on “four critical topics” – insurance reforms, cost containment, expanding coverage, and the impact health reform legislation will have on deficit reduction. For you C-SPAN junkies, the whole thing is to be broadcast live. Ah, but there’s a major potential show-stopper, amounting to a gauntlet thrown down at the GOP’s feet. Each side is to present ahead of time (and online for all to see) a comprehensive bill that would ‘put a stop to insurance company abuses, extend coverage to millions of Americans, get control of skyrocketing premiums and out-of-pocket costs, and reduce the deficit.'”
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