White House hints of new health bill

POSTED: Tuesday, February 16, 2010 - 4:27pm
UPDATED: Friday, April 13, 2012 - 9:53am

WASHINGTON - With the House and the Senate still at loggerheads over their health care bills, the White House hinted on Tuesday that President Obama might post his own bill on the Internet before the bipartisan health care summit he is planning for Blair House next week.

In the nearly a year since Congress began debating a health care overhaul, Mr. Obama has yet to make his own priorities explicit. He said at the outset that he would set broad parameters for the measure and leave the details to lawmakers.

Now, with the bill stalled on Capitol Hill in the wake of the Republican Senate victory in Massachusetts, Mr. Obama has announced the health summit as a high-stakes gambit to breathe life back into the legislation and has promised to put the Democrats’ bill online before the session.

During a news conference last week, Mr. Obama said he envisioned posting a merged House-Senate bill that would address his goals of controlling costs and expanding coverage. “Now, we have a package, as we work through the differences between the House and the Senate, and we’ll put it up on a Web site for all to see over a long period of time, that meets those criteria, meets those goals,’’ the president said.

But Mr. Obama may be running out of time. His press secretary, Robert Gibbs, was asked Monday if the president would simply post his own bill if the House and the Senate cannot come to terms.

“Stay tuned,’’ Mr. Gibbs said. He declined to elaborate.