*President Barack Obama and his Democratic allies are pleading their case for health care overhaul in an extraordinary summit with Republicans, broadcast live to a divided public on daytime TV.
But Democrats are already looking beyond Thursday’s meeting at historic Blair House. With GOP lawmakers remaining steadfast in their opposition, the president and his party are preparing to move on alone.
At stake in the high-risk strategy is the Democrats’ stalemated legislation to extend coverage to more than 30 million people who are now uninsured. Politically, it’s an all-or-nothing gamble in a midterm election year for Democrats bent on achieving a goal that has eluded lawmakers for a half-century.
Polls show Americans want their elected leaders to address the problems of high medical costs, eroding access to coverage and uneven quality. But the public is split over the Democrats’ sweeping legislation, with its $1 trillion, 10-year price tag and many complex provisions, including some that wouldn’t take effect for another eight years – after Obama has packed up and left the White House.
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