Obama outlines concessions to Republicans

President Obama laid a number of areas in which he's willing to negotiate with Republicans on healthcare reform today, part of Democrats' final push to get the GOP on board.

In a letter to congressional leaders, Obama outlined four concerns Republicans raised at last week's healthcare summit that he says willing to address: fraud and abuse, medical malpractice reform, Medicare Advantage carve-outs for specifics states, and health savings accounts.

"I said throughout this process that I’d continue to draw on the best ideas from both parties, and I’m open to these proposals in that spirit," Obama wrote.

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Specifically, Obama embraced Sen. Tom Coburn's (R-Okla.) suggestion to have medical professional perform "undercover ingestigations" to weed out fraud. He also agreed to guarantee an additional $50 million in funding for tort reform projects in the states, increase Medicaid reimbursements to states, and add language confirming that high-deductible plans can be sold in the proposed federal exchange. (Republican believe high-deductible plans will encourage consumers health savings accounts.)

Finally, Obama clarified that his proposal will eliminate state-specific exemptions from Medicare cuts. Republicans had particularly criticized Democrats for letting Florida seniors escape those cuts, possible to secure the vote of Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.)

But Obama also emphasized the areas in which he will not compromise, including regulation of the insurance industry.

"While we all believe that reform must be built around our existing private health insurance system, I believe that we must hold the insurance industry to clear rules, so they can’t arbitrarily raise rates or reduce or eliminate coverage," Obama wrote. "That must be a part of any serious reform to make it work for the many Americans who have insurance coverage today, as well as those who don’t."

Finally, the president threw cold water on the idea of reforming healthcare in a "piecemeal" fashion.

"Both parties agree that the health care status quo is unsustainable," he wrote. "And both should agree that it’s just not an option to walk away from the millions of American families and business owners counting on reform."