During a speech at the White House on Wednesday, President Barack Obama hinted at the possibility that congressional Democrats would soon be obliged to play the reconciliation card to ensure that health care reform legislation reaches the finish line and he pushed Congress to “finish its work”—as in pronto—on that crucial and contentious issue. —KA
The Washington Post:
Forging ahead despite the GOP objections, Obama defended health-care reform as crucial to American families and businesses. He said his proposal, projected to cost at least $950 billion over 10 years, would lower skyrocketing costs and end abuses by insurance companies, including discrimination against people with preexisting conditions.
He emphatically rejected Republican demands to abandon existing proposals and “start over” with an incremental approach.
Flanked by doctors and nurses in white coats, Obama said, “I do not see how another year of negotiations would help. Moreover, the insurance companies aren’t starting over. They are continuing to raise premiums and deny coverage as we speak. For us to start over now could simply lead to delay that could last for another decade or even more. The American people and the U.S. economy just can’t wait that long.”
Declaring that “it’s time to give the American people more control over their own health insurance,” he said his proposal represents “an approach that has been debated and changed and, I believe, improved over the last year.” He said it “incorporates the best ideas from Democrats and Republicans,” including some that GOP participants offered during last week’s “health-care summit,” such as funding state grants on medical malpractice reform and curbing waste, fraud and abuse in the health-care system.