While some differences between Republicans and Democrats may be impossible to bridge, others—such as provisions regarding defensive medicine, selling insurance across state lines, and tighter control over fraud and abuse in federal programs—could gain traction.
Gibbs said that the president would take the “issues they agreed on Thursday and add them into a proposal going forward.”
But he was also coy about details, deferring to the president to fully sketch out the way ahead. When asked if the proposal would be in the form of legislative text or more a preferred path, Gibbs said, “I think the president will put forward an updated proposal on how to move forward.”
What avenue Obama ultimately champions, however, is uncertain. Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill could potentially use a parliamentary procedure known as reconciliation, which would allow legislation to pass on a simple majority vote. But it would likely be contingent on the House passing the Senate's bill—something some Democrats are wary to do.
Another proposal could center on a scaled down bill aimed at coverage expansion. Still another way would be to pass a series of smaller bills. Each path, however, could prove politically and procedurally tricky.
During a lengthy, daylong meeting on Thursday, Democrats and Republicans effectively played to a draw on policy. Shortly after, GOP members continued their call for a do-over on the bills.
But Gibbs said that such a move isn't on the table. “I would say this, the insurance companies are not starting over,” he said. “They're mailing out letters right now increasing (premiums) by 39% in the individual market.”