The Waiting Room
*Here’s a quick wrap-up of today’s health care news. *
President Obama will deliver his major health care speech to Congress at 8 p.m. tonight — and the GOP has already begun its spin. The Republican leadership in Congress is blasting the reform effort, with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) criticizing the size of the 1,000-page House bill and Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) predicting that Obama would “try to put lipstick on this pig and call it something else.” Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) laid out his expectations for the speech, portraying it as a test of the president’s ability to persuade Americans they stand to gain from greater government involvement in health care. Following the speech, Rep. Charles Boustany (R-La.), a little-known Congressman and a former heart surgeon, will deliver the Republican rebuttal.
Democrats continue to fight over the public option ahead of the speech. Progressive Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) says he won’t vote for a bill that doesn’t include a public option, but Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), chairman of the key Finance Committee, insists that a bill containing a public option won’t pass the Senate. Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.), continuing his swing to the left in the face of a primary challenge, [tweets](this United States senator is going to tell [President Obama] emphatically that we need the public option,"), “This United States senator is going to tell him (the president) emphatically that we need the public option.”
And Obama himself? Marc Ambinder speculates that his target audience tonight is the 100 or so members of Congress who have threatened to oppose a bill that doesn’t contain a public option. The White House talking points don’t shed much light on the speech, but they do single out Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin for her op-ed in today’s Wall Street Journal:
On Gov. Palin’s Attacks
Every non-partisan organization that has looked at her claims say they are false. And the ideas in her op-ed are both scary and risky. Eliminating Medicare and giving our seniors vouchers instead is a bad idea that we shouldn’t adopt.