Obama Might Regret Health Care Invitation

5196009 Could President Obama possibly deliver on the invitation he made at a Town Hall Meeting on health care today?

He didn't just offer to answer any questions that members of Congress might have about the health care legislation.

"If they want to come over to the White House," he said, "and go over line-by-line what's going on, I will be happy to do that."

Line-by-line? Could he have forgotten that the House bill is over a thousand pages in length? Who knows how long the Senate measure will be.

House and Senate members seeking to indefinitely delay passage of the health care measure, could tie Mr. Obama up for months if not years, going over the bill line-by-line. We wouldn't subject detainees at Guantanamo to that level of cruelty.

Plus, if you've taken a look at the bill (here), it defies comprehension. Here's just a single sentence from Section 112 of the House measure:

"The requirements of sections 2711 (other than subsections (c) and (e)) and 2712 (other than paragraphs (3), and (6) of subsection (b) and subsection (e)) of the Public Health Service Act, relating to guaranteed availability and renewability of health insurance coverage, shall apply to individuals and employers in all individual and group health insurance coverage, whether offered to individuals or employers through the Health Insurance Exchange, through any employment-based health plan, or otherwise, in the same manner as such sections apply to employers and health insurance coverage offered in the small group market, except that such section 2712(b)(1) shall apply only if, before nonrenewal or discontinuation of coverage, the issuer has provided the enrollee with notice of non-payment of premiums and there is a grace period during which the enrollees has an opportunity to correct such nonpayment."

Can we go over line four again, Mr. President?

In his remarks at the town hall meeting, staged in a high school gymnasium in Raleigh, Mr. Obama spoke openly about the desire of congressional opponents of his health care goals to delay its enactment indefinitely.

"Folks have specifically said on the other side: The more we can delay, the better chance we have of killing the bill. Because what happens in Washington is the longer it takes, the more the special interests can start getting in there and trying to knock it down."

A line-by-line review of a 1,000 page bill has delay written all over it.

If it was a promise, the president may regret it. And at the same town meeting he boasted, "I've been keeping my promises since I got into office."

Mark Knoller is a CBS News White House correspondent. You can read more of his posts in Hotsheet here. You can also follow him on Twitter here: http://twitter.com/markknoller.
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    Mark Knoller is a CBS News White House correspondent.