The prospect of compromise was dim at the end of the seven-hour summit. Mr. Obama had expressed hope that it would be a serious negotiating session, but it often devolved into a series of campaign-style speeches that mirrored party talking points.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, told reporters at the White House after the summit that she’s not optimistic that Republicans would vote for the bill. But Democrats pledged to move forward.
“It’s time to do something and we’re going to do it,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat.
Democrats have suggested that they would pursue reconciliation - the complicated procedural tool that circumvents the chance for a Republican filibuster in the Senate - if they can’t get support from Republicans, who remain uniformly opposed to the Democrats’ plans.
Mr. Obama’s health care reform effort stalled on Capitol Hill shortly after Democrats lost their 60th, filibuster-breaking vote in the Senate with the special election win in Massachusetts of Scott Brown, who campaigned strongly against the bill.
In an only-in-Washington debate, lawmakers quarreled several times about how the Congressional Budget Office - Congress’ nonpartisan budget keeper - scored and analyzed the parties’ legislation.
Mr. Alexander accused the Democrats’ Senate bill of raising premiums for people in the individual health care market, which drew sharp rebuke from Mr. Obama.
“No, no, no, no,” he said. “Let me - and this is an example of where we’ve got to get our facts straight.”
The CBO ruled that the cost to families in the individual market - those who have to buy coverage on their own directly from an insurer - would in fact be 10 percent to 13 percent higher under the Senate plan. But the customer would get government subsidies to help defray the cost, which would decrease their cost.
• Kara Rowland contributed to this report.