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Healthcare summit reaction: Useful, but not a game-changer

After Thursday's healthcare summit, reaction from both sides is positive, but Democrats still likely to proceed without Republican support.

Healthcare summit reaction: Senate majority leader Harry Reid of Nevada (c.) flanked by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California (l.) and House majority leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland speaks with reporters outside the White House in Washington, Thursday, at the end of a day of meetings with President Obama.

J. Scott Applewhite/AP

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Prospects for healthcare reform legislation appear little changed following President Obama’s marathon White House forum on the subject Thursday.

Republicans say they remain opposed to Obama’s proposed healthcare overhaul, while Democrats vow that they will rally their party to push it through Congress – if necessary, via special budget rules that allow them to proceed with a simple majority of 51 votes.

Yet all involved said the seven-hour chat fest, held at Blair House, across Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House proper, was worth doing. The tone was at times combative, but the talk was surprisingly substantive and laid out the philosophical differences between the parties on this important issue like little else has in recent months. (For more Monitor coverage of the healthcare summit, see here.)

“I think it was good to have that conversation. I think it was good for the American people,” said Sen. John McCain (R) of Arizona on Friday in an appearance on ABC’s “Good Morning America”.

Senator McCain, the GOP’s presidential candidate in 2008, said that Republicans would be willing to work with Obama on such measures as ensuring insurance coverage for those with preexisting health conditions.


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