For over seven hours yesterday, the nation's top leaders gathered in Washington for a unique conversation on the future of health care reform. Moderated by President Obama, the health care summit revealed disparate views on current legislation, with Democrats arguing for comprehensive reform and Republicans pressing for a more incremental approach (or for starting over entirely). We streamed the entire summit on CitizenTube, and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Minority Leader John Boehner, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid all agreed to answer some of your top-voted questions from our Google Moderator platform during the event. (We also offered the opportunity to Senator Mitch McConnnell, the Senate Minority Leader, but he was unable to participate due to a scheduling conflict.)
Though it's doubtful many of you were able to tune in to the entire meeting, the fact that it was broadcast online was an important aspect of the discussion. It spoke to one of the top concerns that YouTube users posed to President Obama in our YouTube Interview earlier this month, when they demanded that health care proceedings become more transparent.
We selected three top-voted questions and the two top-voted ideas that you submitted during the summit, and the lawmakers replied with the YouTube videos that we've embedded below, as well as posted on the YouTube homepage. (We didn't ask the top-voted question regarding putting legistlation online, as all the legislation is currently available on the Internet.) Seeing each lawmaker answer the same five questions affords an interesting perspective on where both parties stand with respect to the issues that matter most to the citizens who participated.
Here are the questions and ideas that each leader answered. We'll leave the full list up on CitizenTube for the next few days:
1. What is the explicit reasoning behind mandating the purchase of healthcare services?
- Chris, University of Florida
2. Do you believe that healthcare is a right, or that health insurance is a right?
- Brian, Student
3. Thompson Reuters had performed a study in which they concluded that 40% of healthcare waste was from unnecessary care. Unnecessary care is primarily a result of a fear of being sued, aka malpractice. What is being done to address malpractice?
- JatPat, Chicago, IL
4. Why not quit artificially limiting the market? Stop tying health insurance to employers and increase the market dramatically. Allow insurance providers to sell across state lines and increase it even more. The larger the market the lower the price.
- crodgers1981, Lincoln, NE
5. All people voting on these bills should be required to personally read the entire bill before being allowed to vote on it. It is ridiculous that these bills are thousands of pages long. Bills should be written in clear language.
- Blinn, Illinois
Here are Speaker Pelosi's answers:
Here are Congressman Boehner's:
And here are Senator Reid's replies:
Steve Grove, YouTube News and Politics, recently watched "White House Health Care Summit Part I."