Obama Expected To Step Up Involvement in Push for Health Care Reform
In his weekly radio and Internet address Saturday, President Obama called on Congress to overhaul the U.S. health care system by the August congressional recess, warning that "[i]f we do nothing, everyone's health care will be in jeopardy," the AP/San Diego Union-Tribune reports (Elliott/Werner, AP/San Diego Union-Tribune, 6/6).
Obama said, "We must attack the root causes of skyrocketing health care costs," adding that "any health care reform must be built around the fundamental reforms that lower costs, improve quality and coverage, and also protect consumer choice" (Rhee, "Political Intelligence," Boston Globe, 6/6).
"Within a decade, we'll spend one dollar out of every five we earn on health care -- and we'll keep getting less for our money," Obama noted, adding that that is "why fixing what's wrong with our health care system is no longer a luxury we hope to achieve -- it's a necessity we cannot postpone any longer" (Budoff Brown, Politico, 6/6).
The radio and Internet address did not mention any specific proposals but said that health reform should not add to the budget deficit, adding that the administration intends to work with Congress "to fully cover the costs through rigorous spending reductions and appropriate additional revenues" (Cooper, New York Times, 6/7).
Public Relations Campaign
After months of insisting that he would leave the details of reform legislation to Congress, Obama has decided he must become more involved in the debate over a health care overhaul, the New York Times reports.
According to the Times, Saturday's address marked the launch of a public relations campaign by the White House and Obama's political action group Organizing for America to prompt Congress to act swiftly on health reform legislation.
According to the Times, Obama has become increasingly concerned that some of the policies that he favors, such as a public option to compete with private health insurers, would be left out of a final overhaul bill.
Some of Obama's top advisers have said that he wants to make certain that any final bill is indicative of his involvement.
According to senior White House officials, the campaign will include speeches, town-hall-style meetings, and greater interaction by the president with congressional leaders drafting health reform.
White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel said that lawmakers can expect "quiet one-on-one discussions" with Obama regarding overhaul legislation.
In addition, Organizing for America on Saturday launched a 50-state grassroots effort attempting to take advantage of Obama's approval ratings to spur legislation. Emanuel said that the effort is meant to provide "air cover" for lawmakers to adopt Obama's priorities, adding that "the president's adoption of something makes it easier to vote for, because he's -- let's be honest -- popular, and the public trusts him" (Gay Stolberg, New York Times, 6/7).Â Â
Grassley Tweets at Obama
Senate Finance Committee ranking member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) on Sunday issued two messages on the social networking site Twitter criticizing Obama for sightseeing in Europe while encouraging Congress to pass health care reform legislation, the Washington Times reports. In his first note, Grassley wrote, "Pres Obama you got nerve while u sightseeing in Paris to tell us 'time to deliver' on health care."
Minutes later, Grassley wrote, "Pres Obama while u sightseeing in Paris u said 'time to delivr [sic] on health care' When you are a 'hammer' u think evrything [sic] is NAIL I'm no NAIL."
A Grassley spokesperson confirmed that it was the senator who wrote the messages (Lengell, Washington Times, 6/7).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.