Who Won the Health Care Summit Debate? Who Cares?

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Ben Cohen
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I've been perusing the blogosphere gauging reactions to the healthcare summit yesterday and have been seeing lots of articles referring to 'winners and losers'. Some people thought Republicans won the debate, and others the Democrats. The MSM was in full swing last night bringing out a host of 'experts' to determine who won the fight. Democratic strategists thought the Democrats won, and Republicans thought the Republicans won, and clever centrists thought it was complicated.

Having watched around 4 hours of the debate myself, I couldn't really tell you 'who won', because that wasn't what I was looking for. I was looking for any indication from the President that he would, if pushed, use reconciliation to pass comprehensive health care reform in America. And he did, right at the end of the summit:

I’d like Republicans to do a little soul searching to
find out if there are some things that you’d be willling to embrace
that get to this core problem of 30 million people without health
insurance, and dealing seriously with the pre-existing conditions
issue. I don’t know frankly whether we can close that gap.

And if
we can’t close that gap, then I suspect Mitch McConnell, Harry Reid,
Nancy Pelosi and John Boehner are going to have a lot of arguments
about procedures in Congress about moving forward.

Translation: If you don't stop yapping about 'scrapping the bill' and negotiate seriously, I'm going to pass health care whether you like it or not.

The rest of it, in my view, was just theater. If the GOP wants to pretend it scored a dramatic political victory, then fine as long as reform actually happens. And it looks like it just might.