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More on Obama's Health Care Summit

Attention GOP congressmen: Read Jeffrey Anderson's Small Bill for Reform.

12:43 PM, Feb 8, 2010 • By MATTHEW CONTINETTI
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President Obama will host a bipartisan health-care summit, to be televised on C-SPAN, on February 25. Reaction to the event has been divided. Liberals mostly think it's a good idea, while conservatives are not sure. Michelle Malkin says Republicans shouldn't attend. Philip Klein notes that the event will be "pure theatre."

In my opinion, there's no harm in a televised discussion of health care reform. If Obama hasn't been able to convince the public his way is the right way by now, one more event won't make a difference. Nor will a single C-SPAN broadcast alter the political dynamic that is preventing Democrats from passing a final bill. What's more, Republicans will have an opportunity to present their ideas to lower the cost of individual health insurance and increase consumer choice. So let's say Republicans accept Obama's invitation, which they seem inclined to do anyway.

That gives Republicans a little more than two weeks to prepare. What should they say? You could argue that Republicans and conservatives may want to emphasize a diversity of approaches to health care. Even so, if I were a Republican congressman, I'd print out a copy of Jeffrey Anderson's "small bill" health care proposal. The small bill is similar to Paul Ryan's Patients' Choice Act (short summary of that bill -- championed by Sens. Coburn and Burr in the Senate -- here). The small bill is deficit-neutral. It's market-friendly. It does not include the individual mandate. And it's popular. According to Anderson, a recent McLaughlin and Associates poll found that respondents prefer a more modest approach by close to a three-to-one margin.

Perhaps most important, the small bill fits on a single page -- it's therefore easy for politicians to memorize!

Television audiences would see Paul Ryan touting a one-page approach to market-based health care, while Obama defends a thousand-plus-page monstrosity the public disapproves of. That's a debate Republicans and conservatives can win.

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