Obama urges public not to let Congress off hook for health care reform — MedCity Morning Read, July 2, 2009

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Town hall meeting on health care in Annandale, Va.

Town hall meeting on health care in Annandale, Va.

ANNANDALE, Virginia — During his third grassroots meeting on health care, President Barack Obama urged the public not to let Congress put off acting on his top legislative priority, according to the Los Angeles Times.

“In order to make it happen, I’m going to need ordinary Americans to stand up and say, ‘now’s the time,’ ” Obama told an audience at Northern Virginia Community College in suburban Washington, the L.A. Times said.

“If Congress thinks that the American people don’t want to see change, frankly the lobbyists and the special interests will end up winning the day,” Obama said.

The president criticized Congress, where he once served, saying that lawmakers often are tempted to put aside politically sensitive issues without resolving them, the Times said.

Over the weekend, some Congress members seemed to waiver in their resolve to fix the system, rather than just slap on another Bandaid. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky on Sunday told Fox News: “We could target the things that are askew in the system and fix them without this kind of massive overhaul,” the L.A. Times said.

The Obama administration has been working largely behind the scenes with congressional Democrats to develop legislation aimed at covering all Americans with health insurance, and controlling the costs and booting the quality of health care. But the president has ocassionally jabbed at Congress for not being diligent enough to solve the nation’s health care problems.

Also on Wednesday, Democrats on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee outlined a revised and far less expensive health care overhaul that includes a government-run insurance plan and an annual fee for employers who do not offer coverage to workers, according to the Associated Press. The 10-year plan carries a pricetag of $600 billion and would cover 97 percent of Americans, Sens. Edward Kennedy (Massachusetts) and Christopher Dodd (Connecticut) said in a letter to committee members, the AP said.

An earlier, incomplete proposal by the committee carried a price of nearly $1 trillion over 10 years and would have left millions of Americans uninsured, according to a Congressional Budget Office analysis, the AP said. A recent plan by the Senate Finance Committee also cost $1 trillion over 10 years. Over recent weeks, the cost of proposed overhauls peaked at $1.6 trillion over a decade.

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[Photo credit: White House Photo, Pete Souza, 7/1/09]

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Mary Vanac

By Mary Vanac

Mary Vanac is a co-founder of MedCity News.
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