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« Markell: Gubernatorial Races Could Be Bright Spot For Dems | Blog Home Page | White House Won't Rule Out Reconciliation On Health Care »

The Week Ahead: Health Care Summit

Thirty years after the Miracle on Ice in Lake Placid, Team USA wins another upset in Olympic hockey. Our side defeated the Canucks (Team Canada, that is) in Vancouver Sunday night 5-3, thanks in part to a solid performance in goal by Ryan Miller. Both teams move on to the elimination round, but the Americans get a bye.

Here in Washington, it's another busy week.

White House: At 10 am today, the Obama administration will officially post its latest health care proposal. Early reports on the draft call for the federal government getting new power to regulate excessive premium increases, on the heels of Anthem Blue Cross of California's announcement of a 25 percent hike.

"The status quo is good for the insurance industry and bad for America," Obama said in his weekly video address. "And as bad as things are today, they'll only get worse if we fail to act."

This all comes ahead of a planned bipartisan summit on Thursday where the president has promised to give Republicans a chance to pitch their ideas. Today, President Obama is set to speak to the National Governors Association at the White House (the governors enjoyed a state dinner there last night). Wednesday he'll speak to the Business Roundtable in Washington.

Capitol Hill: House members never made it back to town two weeks ago as Washington was pummeled by snow, and last week was lost to the previously scheduled Presidents Day recess. So the House returns today -- a day early -- for a week in which health care heads back to the headlines. The president's health care summit is set for Thursday -- so far House Republicans haven't said whether they will attend, but Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Sunday he and other Senate Republicans will be there.

On the docket in the House this week could be a portion of the Democrats' comprehensive health care bill -- removing health insurers' antitrust exemption. The Senate picks up on some leftover business from two weeks ago as well with a cloture vote on a jobs bill scheduled for 5:30 pm tonight.

Politics: This is the final full week of campaigning before the gubernatorial primaries in Texas on March 2. Gov. Rick Perry (R) seems to have a commanding lead in the Republican primary, but he's still short of the 50 percent threshold he needs to avoid a runoff, likely against Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison. We haven't seen polling since a third candidate, Debra Medina, drew criticism for comments about the 9/11 attacks on Glenn Beck's radio show.

Speaking of Beck, his Saturday night speech capped off a busy weekend at CPAC. The biggest surprise was not Vice President Dick Cheney's unscheduled visit, but instead the victory of Ron Paul in a 2012 presidential primary straw poll. Expect that to lead to continued discussion of the role of the tea party movement as well as libertarians like Paul in the GOP ahead of elections this fall.

Governors also made their mark this weekend at the NGA meeting, with considerable discussion on Sunday shows from both leaders in both parties about the political environment in Washington. Check back here for more from an interview with Gov. Jack Markell (D) and conversations with other state leaders this weekend.

** Poll Watch:
Obama Job Performance: Approve 47.1 / Disapprove 46.0 (+1.1)
Congress Job Performance: Approve 20.4 / Disapprove 73.4 (-53.0)
Generic Ballot Test: Republicans +1.1

**In Case You Missed It: Speaking of governors, New York's David Paterson kicked off his re-election campaign Saturday. Judging by the headlines in the Big Apple, it didn't go well. Oddly enough, Paterson sat at a table with White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel at Sunday night's state dinner, after the White House pushed him to announce he wouldn't run.

Speaking of strange pairings, here's video of Michelle Obama talking about her obesity initiative with Mike Huckabee on his Fox News Channel show.

Medal Count: U.S., 24; Germany, 18; Norway 12; Canada, 9; Korea, 9; Austria, 8; Russia 8.

--Mike Memoli and Kyle Trygstad