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Health Reform Summit Seems to Be Falling Short of Goal
Date:2/25/2010

Experts, politicians split on whether significant changes will be passed anytime soon

THURSDAY, Feb. 25 (HealthDay News) -- President Barack Obama's attempt to jump-start health care reform by holding a bipartisan summit on the issue seemed to be falling short of its stated goal Thursday, with Obama asking legislators to focus on what both parties can agree on and Republicans responding with calls for scrapping the current effort and starting all over again.

Even Obama conceded that the summit has little chance of ending in a meaningful health care reform.

"I don't know that those gaps can be bridged and it may be that at the end of the day we come out of here saying, 'Well, we've had some honest disagreements,'" Obama said, adding, "but I'd like to make sure that this discussion is actually a discussion and not just us trading talking points."

But the Republicans did not appear to be in the mood for compromise.

"This right here is a dangerous experiment, a dangerous experiment with the best health-care system in the world," House Republican leader John Boehner of Ohio said, waving his hand toward the pile of documents that were the Democrats' health care bill.

Meanwhile, many of the nation's most influential medical groups sought this week to remind Americans how badly reform is needed.

"President Obama will have a great opportunity to explain what is in the health reform legislation, thereby sorting out fact from fiction," said Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA. "It is likely to energize Democrats in Congress to bring health reform across the finish line."

In January, the landmark health-care legislation that seemed poised to pass was scuttled with the election of a Republican to fill the Massachusetts Senate seat held for decades by a Democrat, the late Edward M. Kennedy. The loss of the seat denied the Democrats their filibuster-proof, 60-seat supermajorit
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