We have reached The Summit.
Thursday’s bipartisan meeting at the White House (which you can follow live) promises to kick-start what may be the final descent toward healthcare reform. An overview:
Does healthcare reform have a chance? Is bipartisanship a real possibility? David Leonhardt of The New York Times provides some provisional answers.
Igor Volsky over at the Wonk Room brings us up to speed by providing a nice, clear comparison of the House bill, the Senate bill and President Obama’s new proposal.
As far as questions women should be asking about their stake and status in the debate, Lisa Codispoti and Brigette Courtot at the National Women’s Law Center remind us of the “8 Questions” they have been asking all along — and how Obama’s proposal addresses (or fails to address) the issues.
Writing at Raising Women’s Voices, Amy Allina identifies ways in which Obama’s proposal builds on the Senate bill but also notes that it “does not include the changes that Raising Women’s Voices has been urging Congress to make to the restrictive abortion provisions in [the Senate] bill” — namely by eliminating the requirement that policyholders make two separate monthly payments if they want a policy that includes abortion coverage.
It’s also worth taking a look at The National Partnership for Women and Families’ “The Top Ten Best Kept Secrets About Health Insurance Reform and Why Congress Should Pass It Without Delay” [pdf].
Finally, this is politics, and political agendas and expediency can often trump what’s right. Brian Beutler and Christina Bellantoni at Talking Points Memo dissect each party’s strategies, and Ezra Klein at the Washington Post provides a viewer’s guide.
All of this may come down to an arcane Senate procedure known as reconciliation. David M. Herszenhorn at The New York Times offers a primer.
When you feel yourself getting tired of all the red tape, get a pep talk from Ellen Schaffer and Joe Brenner at EQUAL/Center for Policy Analysis, whose PowerPoint — “The Truth About Health Reform: It’s Up to Us” — helps to put priorities in order.