After a month-long period of hibernation, health care reform is suddenly awake and in the headlines again, signaling that the Democrats' signature policy initiative is far from dead. So what happened? Was a new breakthrough reached? And is health care reform now on the fast track? The answer to both questions is, basically, No.
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There's one main reason for the flurry of activity, and that is Thursday's health care summit. In advance of that event, the White House has unveiled a proposal--a series of tweaks to the Senate health care bill--which it hopes can push health care reform over the finish line. But that package isn't a new way forward. Rather, it's the result of weeks of negotiations between House and Senate leaders and the White House.
"We had a lot of momentum going in to the [health care summit]," says a Senate leadership aide. "Everyone knew this was the only option in front of us but Obama really forced the hands, of everybody, to come together."