In a three-hour meeting with President Obama and White House officials, members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee–including chairman Henry Waxman and seven Blue Dogs–reached one key agreement: to give an independent Congressional agency the power to make cuts to, and modernize, Medicare and Medicaid.
Politically, that still leaves plenty of ground to cover before all of the Blue Dogs’ concerns are addressed, if not entirely met. But on the merits it’s one of a handful of proposals on the table that will bend the health care spending curve downward. Last week, CBO Director Doug Elmendorf fueled Blue Dog skepticism over health care reform efforts by saying the legislation he’s seen wouldn’t do enough to contain rising long-term health-care costs.
Leadership, meanwhile, insists that these negotiations are minor hiccups–part of the normal legislative process, and that their reform efforts are still on schedule.