President Obama is hosting a bipartisan White House summit on health reform today, six hours long to be broadcast on C-SPAN.
Among the participants will be four key California leaders, all Democrats from the House of Representatives: Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Chairman Henry Waxman, Chairman George Miller, and Congressman Xavier Becerra.
Two California-specific notes about the Republican participation in this summit:
* State Senator Tony Strickland will be introducing a bill today to prohibit California from implementing the pending health reform–or any other health reform. It’s clearly unconstitional. But on the day of a bipartisan summit to figure out areas of agreement, the amendment vividly portrays the GOP opposition to any reform, including any regulation of the insurance industry, including preventing denials of coverage for pre-existing conditions.
* The major reform that Republicans will push is the concept of selling health insurance across state lines. A California bill on the subject was defeated in committee yesterday. Let’s be clear about what such a proposal would do: it would obviate all California consumer protections, allowing insurers from other states with much weaker regulations to sell substandard products.
Hopefully, there will be better ideas, and more willingness to move ahead on desperately-needed health reform, at the summit today.