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President Obama pushes Democrats on unity for health care reform — MedCity Morning Read, Aug. 5, 2009

President Obama on Tuesday urged Democratic senators to pass bipartisan health care reform, but he left the door open to passing legislation with only Democratic support if Republicans stand in the way. At his birthday celebration, Obama vowed to respond to Republican attacks on his plan to offer health insurance coverage to all Americans while slowing the explosive growth of health costs.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Obama on Tuesday urged Democratic senators to pass bipartisan health care reform, but he left the door open to passing legislation with only Democratic support if Republicans stand in the way, according to the New York Times.

At lunch with Democrats at the White House, Obama vowed to respond to Republican attacks on his plan to offer health insurance coverage to all Americans while slowing the explosive growth of health costs, the Times said. Democrats were upbeat as they left the lunch where they helped the president celebrate his 48th birthday with chocolate cake, according to the Times.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada said there was “absolute unity” among Democrats. “Everyone recognizes that we are going to do, if there’s any way humanly possible, a bipartisan bill,” Reid said, according to the Times. Senators and President Obama acknowledged that Democrats faced a scorching battle over health care at home during the congressional summer recess, the Times said.

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“In spite of the loud, shrill voices trying to interrupt town hall meetings and just throw a monkey wrench into everything, we are going to continue to be positive and work hard,” Reid said, according to the Times. “Before year’s end, we’re going to get comprehensive health care reform.”

The Obama administration isn’t waiting until the summer recess to respond to attacks on its health reform plan. On Tuesday, White House spokeswoman Linda Douglass rebutted accusations that the president’s health care proposals would do away with private health insurance in a video aimed at the Drudge Report Web site, according to the Los Angeles Times. Â 

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