Editor’s Note: Igor Volsky is attending the White House health care summit today. Here’s his first dispatch from the event.
Obama struck a populist tone in his opening address at the White House Health Summit. The event was an opportunity for different stakeholders — insurers, drug companies, business groups –- to reinforce their support for some kind of reform.
But this is really as much about visuals as it is about substance.
All of the interests are now in the same room, sitting next to each other, listening to the president as he commits the nation to enacting comprehensive health care reform by the end of this year.
But not all groups were treated equally. Obama invited all of the stakeholders to the table, but he took some pronounced rhetorical shots at the special interests that stalled previous reform efforts.
He specifically blamed the insurance lobby for swallowing up Clinton’s plan and warned that this time, no one group can dominate the conversation.
In some ways this is really a challenge. Obama is challenging interests on the left and the right to act on reform and to sacrifice for it.