Describe the Obama administartion's stradegy for holding the May 2009 health care reform meeting with the president and all interested parties. What was the administration trying to accomplish, and what was it trying to avoid, based on lessons learned in the past?
It had been over 40 years since any meaningful health care reform had been passed (Medicare - LBJ), so I think Obama took careful notice of the fact that Clinton's effort in 1993 was derailed quite easily, and the need for reform had become greater than ever. Obama is also not really a liberal, as many claim (I know, some editor's head just exploded on eNotes that I said that). He is a pragmatist along the lines of Teddy Roosevelt. He wants to reform, but knows it won't do or mean much if he can't convince the population, business leaders and Congress to go along with it. So he calls them into the White House in the early days of the reform effort to attempt some compromise and get them on board.
I think that one of the primary lessons of the articulation in May 2009 was to ensure that there was a sense of transparency and openness in the process of delivering health care to every American. There can be much in way of debate about whether this was actually accomplished. Yet, the intent of the meeting seemed to be to provide an open forum where all stakeholders in the health care industry had a chance to be heard and where all discussions could be held in a manner where vested interests had to declare where they stood on the issues. Learning from mistakes made in the past where discussion on such issues was not necessarily open or where the approach was not very proactive, the administration sought to make its take on the issue more along the lines of sorting out the problem through openness in dialogue as it formulated its plan of attack.