Obama Steps Up Push for Health Care Reform in Recent Appearances
In an interview on PBS' "NewsHour with Jim Lehrer" on Monday, President Obama said that he will not alter his deadline for House and Senate reform legislation to be approved by the August recess but conceded that the process may last beyond that target, Reuters reports (Frank/Dixon, Reuters, 7/20).
He said, "I want this done now," adding, "if there are no deadlines, nothing gets done in this town." However, he also said, "If somebody comes to me and says, 'It's basically done, it's going to spill over by a few days or a week,' you know, that's different" (Werner, AP/Google.com, 7/21).
Following a meeting with physicians, Obama also made remarks on health reform at the National Children's Medical Center in Washington, D.C.
He said, "If we do nothing, then families will spend more and more of their income for less and less care," adding, "So let's fight our way through the politics of the moment" and "pass reform by the end of this year" (Herszenhorn/Pear, New York Times, 7/21). He also said, "We can't afford the politics of delay and defeat when it comes to health care," adding, "Not this time. Not now. There are too many lives and livelihoods at stake" (Alonso-Zaldivar/Superville, AP/Boston Globe, 7/21).
Obama said that there are "some in this town" who are opposing reform on behalf of "special interests," noting that insurance executives are seeing "windfall profits" under the current system.
In his address at the hospital, Obama also responded to a comment reportedly made by Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) that health reform could be Obama's "Waterloo," or defeat from which he could not recover, because if Republicans could stop his health care plan from passing, it would "break" Obama (Koffler, Roll Call, 7/20).
Obama said, "This isn't about me. This isn't about politics," adding, "This is about a health care system that is breaking America's families, breaking America's businesses and breaking America's economy" (AP/Boston Globe, 7/21).
'Today Show' Interview
On Tuesday, Obama in an interview on NBC's "Today Show" said he supports a surtax on high-income U.S. residents as a way to help pay for a health overhaul.
Today, Obama is expected to meet with Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, the only one of three House panels working on reform legislation that has yet to approve the proposal.
According to the AP/Yahoo News, it "remained to be seen" whether a meeting with Obama could sway members of the Blue Dog Coalition on the panel, who are concerned with the cost of the House plan, among other issues.
In addition, Obama has scheduled brief remarks on Tuesday prior to the meeting with the Energy and Commerce Committee.
Obama will host a prime-time news conference on Wednesday and a town hall in Ohio on Thursday (Werner, AP/Yahoo News, 7/21).
NPR's "All Things Considered" on Monday reported on Obama's urging that health reform be passed by the end of the year and his response to criticism on reform (Liasson, "All Things Considered," NPR, 7/20).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.