Insight Into Health Care Negotiations on MSNBC

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... >>> democratic leaders return to the white house today, an hour from now, picking up where they left off after eight hours of intense negotiations yesterday. remarkable negotiations involving the president himself. now there's word that the white house has possibly struck a tentative deal regarding one of the key obstacles, those high-end insurance plans that were going to be taxed. up until this point, a major obstacle in talks between the house and the senate and a big issue for labor leaders. steny hoyer joins us now live. congressman, what can you tell us about whether this deal has really been struck? >> i don't think there's a deal yet in the sense that we're not finished with the negotiations on the entire bill with the senate. i think there's been a lot of progress, andrea. i'm very optimistic we're going to get there and get there soon, but i wouldn't say that any deal in the sense you speak of has been cut at this point in time. >> let's say it's not a done deal, but are we getting closer to adjusting the threshold point so that you've come up with something that labor can accept? maybe it's already acceptable to labor and now it has to be resolved among all of you in congress. >> well, i think that certainly our friends in labor have been very, very concerned about some of the financing mechanisms, as you point out that were in the senate bill. and they like better the financing mechanisms that were in our bill. and there are a lot of americans that are not in organized labor very concerned about the so-called tax on high-end policies. but it's my view and my understanding that there's been a lot of work done, some compromises made and i think we may have some resolution of those concerns. i don't mean that they're totally. i don't know the absolute specifics on that and don't want to speak to them, but it's my understanding that significant progress on that particular issue has been made. >> take us behind the scenes yesterday. you've got this crisis in haiti, everything else going on around the world and the president himself comes in and, for hours, back and forth, in and out. what was that like? describe the experience at the white house. >> i think it indicated the depth of commitment that this president has to passing legislation, which has eluded every president since theodore roosevelt, which provides affordable, accessible health care to all americans. he said to the american people when he ran that's what he wanted to do. yesterday he made it very clear that that was not just rhetoric, but reality of his commitment. but i also want to say, andrea, that he was out of our meetings during those eight hours for at least a couple of hours, on the phone with those in haiti, on the phone with our military, with his national security team, with our emergency response teams, making sure that america's response to the tragedy in haiti and the suffering and the necessity to get in there quickly to try to save additional lives that can be saved, he was focused on that as well. so, he was not distracted from haiti, gave it the time that it absolutely needed but also was very engaged with us on trying to reach resolution between the senate and the house on the health care bill that can move forward. >> bottom line, do you think that there will be an agreement on health care, something before the state of the union? >> i think the bottom line is there will be agreement soon. i don't want to put a deadline on it. and i'm not exactly sure when the state of the union is going to be, whether it's the second or the ninth or some other day. we certainly made great progress yesterday. we're going down to the white house, as you know, in a little over an hour again to get together to move forward. we'll be here tomorrow. we'll be working probably through the weekend to see that we can get this done. we're committed to doing it. we think it's important for the american people, and we think we're close to a resolution, the differences between the senate and the house. >> steny hoyer, majority leader, thank you very much. good luck at the white house. >> thank you, andrea. >>> today's mid day must reads. president obama tells wall street we want our money back. his plan to tax the nation's biggest banks next on ""andrea mitchell reports."" enough is enough. tdd# 1-800-345-2550 tdd# 1-800-345-2550 it's time investors got what they deserve. tdd# 1-800-345-2550 real help that's there when you need it. tdd# 1-800-345-2550 pricing that leaves you with something to actually invest. tdd# 1-800-345-2550 at schwab, we offer a lot more help for a lot less money. ...