President Obama gets out the bully pulpit today on health care reform, as he holds a town hall meeting on the issue in Virginia, an event that the White House will also share on the internet.
The White House invited video questions from the public on reform, as the President looks to get a little grass roots effort going on the issue of health care changes.
“The bottom line here is very simple,” said the President on his own video announcing the town hall. “Inaction is not an option.”
That is a snappy line, but for a lot of the players involved in the health care battle, “inaction” at least is the devil you know, no matter how unsatisfactory the current system may well be.
But as soon as I wrote that line on Tuesday afternoon, there was major news on health care reform, as Wal Mart announced it would support what’s known as a government mandate for large companies to offer health care to their workers.
That was a surprise, as the health coverage mandate issue has drawn strong opposition from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and many business groups.
Is it a sign that the White House is really getting close to finding the formula for compromise?
Two Senate Committees will try again starting next week to produce a health care bill, as key Senators hash out the details of what the reforms will look like, and how they will be paid for.
I don’t think it’s an understatement to say that any setbacks between now and early August could deliver a death blow to health care reform for this year.
But if you get a few more Wal Mart’s to get on board, who knows where this might lead for the White House.
The original schedule was a vote in the full Senate on reform before August 7. I’m not sure that’s possible right now.
I guess my evaluation right now is that it’s still an uphill fight. But you can’t rule it out.