Obama Kicks Off Health Care Effort

Baucus told ABC News that he wants this effort to be truly bipartisan, in contrast to the approach taken to the stimulus bill earlier this year.

He said he will work with his Republican counterpart, ranking member Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, in drafting the legislation.

"No, no, stimulus has been different," Baucus admitted. "In fact at the end of the stimulus debate and after the vote, Grassley stood up and said 'you know, this might have been a bit partisan, but the next big effort is healthcare reform and I don't want that to be partisan, I want to work together,' and he meant it and I deeply appreciate that."

Baucus, told ABC News this week that he was "concerned" about the president's proposal to help pay for health care reform by reducing the amount in itemized deductions that those earning more than $250,000 a year can claim on their taxes.

"It's an issue," Baucus said, "but there are lots of different ways to solve this one, there's always a solution ... you just have to look hard enough and carefully enough and creatively enough to find a solution and if not that tax provision, there may be some other."

Participants broke into five discussion groups this afternoon, moderated by Domestic Policy Council Director Melody Barnes, Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orszag, National Economic Council Director Lawrence Summers and newly named White House healthcare czar Nancy-Ann DeParle. Obama joked prior to the sessions that he expected the issue solved by the time the end of the day.

ABC News' Lindsey Ellerson contributed to this report.

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