July 18th, 2009
01:07 PM ET
9 years ago

White House, GOP face off on health care as deadline looms

WASHINGTON (CNN) - With the White House deadline for congressional passage of his health care agenda just weeks away, President Obama and the GOP faced off on the issue Saturday.

High-profile White House events this week made the hard sell for the plan currently being considered by Congress. On Friday, a bipartisan group of half a dozen senators asked the president to slow the pace, and relax the summer timeline he’s given Congress to act.

In his radio and Web address broadcast Saturday - titled "Health Care Reform Cannot Wait" - Obama resisted that effort, and shot back at critics of his plan.

“We know the same special interests and their agents in Congress will make the same old arguments, and use the same scare tactics that have stopped reform before because they profit from this relentless escalation in health care costs,” said the president. “And I know that once you’ve seen enough ads and heard enough people yelling on TV, you might begin to wonder whether there’s a grain of truth to what they’re saying. So let me take a moment to answer a few of their arguments.”

He argued that, despite what his critics said, he would not sign any bill that increased the deficit, that his plan would not result in government control over anyone’s health care or insurance choices, and that there would be no rationing of medical care.

Republicans were equally firm Saturday, saying they are going to fight the proposal and push for a cheaper bill – and called for Democrats to put the brakes on the move for summer passage.

"They propose to pay for this new Washington-run health care system by dramatically raising taxes on small business owners," Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl said in the Republican Web and radio address broadcast Saturday. "With a shaky economy and the need for new jobs, the last thing the president and the Congress should do is impose new taxes on America's small businesses."

“…the President and some Democrats insist we must rush this plan through. Why? Because the more Americans know about it, the more they oppose it. Something this important needs to be done right, rather than done quickly.”

Other elements of the president’s agenda, like the stimulus package and the energy bill, have passed with minimal or non-existent GOP support. And Democrats have since gained a 60th vote in the Senate, the number required to stave off a filibuster.

But it remains an open question whether the party can hold on to the support of enough of its own members to pass the president’s vision for a major overhaul of the nation’s health care system. Moderate Republicans and conservative Democrats have found themselves in the crosshairs, facing political pressure from both sides of the debate, along with millions of dollars of targeted ads.

Filed under: Health care • Jon Kyl • President Obama
soundoff (139 Responses)
  1. D. Tree

    I'm sick of these dishonest politicians opposing the public option – these same Senators and Congressmen get a public option for THEIR health insurance and they are quite happy with it! Why are they standing in the way of MY CHOICE?

    If they don't want to let regular Americans have the choice for a public option, they should voluntarily relinquish their own plans!

    July 18, 2009 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  2. Johnny DC

    How dare this president pretend that "special interests" are to blame for Congress taking a responsible look at such a massive, massive endeavor.

    Obama has lost touch with reality. The power has CLEARLY gone to his head and someone needs to get him to slow down before he does irreparable damage.

    July 18, 2009 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  3. Steve-Illinois

    If this administration has learned anything from the stimulus bill, it should have been to take the time to study the implications and get it right. Pushing through a crap bill, just to say you got it done, with the plan to fix the flaws later, is idiotic! Medicare cost 7X the "projected" amount.

    July 18, 2009 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  4. GI Joe

    Hmmm – check and see how much Insurance Lobbyists have paid to the republicans - and it only goes on and on.

    Insurance and Pharmaceutical companies don't want us to have affordable care. It will dip into their big profits.

    July 18, 2009 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  5. katiec

    We pay the highest health care costs in the world, yet rank 30th in care and performance. Thousands upon thousands have to file bankruptcy due to medical costs and many, many die because
    they cannot afford medical treatment.
    We can no longer allow big business, lobbyists, special interests and those who support them run our country and make crucial decisions for us. We cannot accept politicians to choose their campaign funding, personal gains and interests over the welfare of us and our country.
    There will be no health care reform without government intervention.
    Public option will make the insurance companies become competitive. The no bid stipulation the republicans put on the prescription plan, in hopes to break medicare, will be eliminated.
    Cost saving will be demanded from all.
    Health care reform is desperately needed. We cannot allow the republicans, big business and the misguided blue dogs ruin
    what we want, support and demand.
    Contact every politician you can and let them know you will no
    longer tolerate politics as usual.

    July 18, 2009 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  6. ib

    This should be DOA. The country cannot afford this right now we are broke people and the more people get a chance to look at it they are opposed to it. That's why Obama and Peloski are trying to rush it through.

    July 18, 2009 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  7. Aunt Bea and Opie

    Set the GOP in a life raft and set them adrift.We know who and what they represent,and its NOT the majority of Americans.

    July 18, 2009 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  8. Hammerer

    Obama has been wrong on every crisis that he said must be done without questioning. It is time for the congress to represent the people of America and not the threats of this administration.
    Obama knows that his time is running out and people are going to see Obama for who he is.
    He says for the congress not to worry about reelection just do as he demands. He wants them to ignore the will of the people and submit to his demands.
    Not what I expect from the government that is supposed to represent me.

    July 18, 2009 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  9. Charlie in Maine

    I have a simple question for Democrats. Is two years in power enough for you? If is by all means go cower in a corner like you all did in 1993 for Bill Clinton's Healthcare reform. If on the other hand you like being in the majority.......grow backbones and pass the thing. If the Dems in congress had returned to their districts to campaign in 1994 having passed healthcare reform, Oh it is sweet dream isn't it? No impeachemnet of Clinton, maybe had he not been distracted maybe he could have accomplished even more.

    July 18, 2009 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  10. annie for Palin

    Why the great rush to shove this bill thru when no one has had a chance to read & re-read it and dechiper everything in it? Must be a killer for the USA and the American citizens or else they wouldn't have to sneak it thru in the dark of night.

    July 18, 2009 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  11. Pat F

    Hang in there, Republicans. There is no room for compromise here. Oppose Obama-Care every inch of the way. Or just stay home in 2010 and 2012.

    Obama-Care is a job killer, and just socialize medicine disguised as a "fix" for a system that is the best in the world, by far. The so-called 47 million uninsured (a lie to begin with) could be covered by the price tag of this boondoggle at $10,000 per year for 100 years! If they jsut put 5% of that money into increasing prosecutions for Medicare fraud, which is estimated to be about 30% of the cost, and another 5% into the Medicare Part D prescription program, that would be all the fix that the health care system needs.

    July 18, 2009 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  12. phoenix86

    Anyone rushing through this monstrosity of 1100 pages should simply be imprisoned for fraud.

    July 18, 2009 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  13. Willy Brown

    Barry how you going to pay for it? Oh yes the democrats favorite tool; Tax us all to death.

    July 18, 2009 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  14. Ryan

    How can anybody vote on this when they haven't read it? Well, I started reading this bill and it only took to page 16 to find a big problem; that is if you are currently on private insurance and somehow you lose it (get fired, laid off, etc...), it will be ILLEGAL to own anything else but government run health care for the rest of your life. And those who are not in the private system now (look at all the unemployed people this country has) will be forced to be on government run health care, because it will be ILLEGAL for them to be under any other kind of private insurance.

    This is not the hope and change all of you voted for...this is soft tyranny!

    July 18, 2009 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  15. Larry

    I'm proud of the stance this President is taking against special interests running Washington.

    Thanks, President Obama, for giving our government back to us.

    July 18, 2009 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  16. Liberal

    Why is the GOP so willing to protect and defend insurance companies rather than real people? Oh...silly ME, those insurance companies are deep pockets for campaign treasure chests. Look around, who has state of the art equipment, LARGE new buildings, and high paid execs and sales staff? Could it be......insurance companies?

    July 18, 2009 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  17. Henry

    We got to do something. NOW IS THE TIME. Enough of this fear that the Repiglicans want to throw out there. Reminds me of Hitler and whipping up the fear of jews in Germany. No difference. Same fear agenda, same people masquerading as patriots.

    July 18, 2009 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  18. robert verdi

    Obama has been caught in a lie over his health savings, no wonder he has to attack the GOP.

    July 18, 2009 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  19. judy

    The only things the republican flock listen to , are the paranoid rantings of their leaders!! Sad, there are so many ignorant Americans, who keep breeding more of the same.

    July 18, 2009 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  20. annie for Palin

    In the bill is:

    MANDATORY "counseling session" for all senior citizens to take place EVERY 5 years.

    This "counseling sessions" will be done by a representative of the government at the senior citizen's residence.

    The government representative will advise as to "end of life decisions and issues.

    In other words, genecide of older generations

    Imagine that, A way to rid the nation of anyone over the age of 65 if they can't pay for "private insurance".

    The federal governments way of reducing medicare costs.

    July 18, 2009 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  21. indiana voter

    I have no problem with the idea of reforming the health care, but why is it so important that it be passed by August? What is the hurry? We have been debating it, and trying to find a good solution for over 20+ years. What makes this administration think that it can solve it perfectly in less than a few months. I think that everyone should slow down and make sure it is done correctly. The only reason it is being pushed through so fast is so people don't have time to read it and debate it. Not to mention that Obama is desperately looking for something positive that he can brag about, which is making it solely a political issue rather than something to help the American people. As it currently stands, I do not support this bill that they are pushing. I don't know what the alternative is, but it makes no sense to pass something so quickly at the risk of making it a lot worse.

    July 18, 2009 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  22. jeff in Fla

    The GOP makes me ill. They talk about government controlled health care in other countries and some problems. Well I spend a lot of time in Canada and let me tell you, NOBODY up there wants to switch health care systems with us.

    If there is a person in Canada who slips through the cracks and can't get a surgery fast enough, that is nothing compared to the millions here who can't get care AT ALL. At least their care is based on level of emergency, while ours is based on ability to pay. It makes me sick.

    There are a few sad stories up there that the GOP seizes on, but I can spit in a crowd here and hit a dozen people who have nightmare stories. There is no comparison.

    The key is that nothing Congress could pass could be worse than what we have now. We are living the nightmare scenario.

    July 18, 2009 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  23. PeterJ

    This is kinda odd...Obama is lying about other people lying...weird

    July 18, 2009 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  24. NITA

    I sincerely hope that this time around the Congress and the nation will embrace a national health care system. Evev though I understand the concern about the national deficit, my question is ' Whats more important , the quality of my life or saving money?" Alive and poor seems a much better option to me than dead and rich.

    July 18, 2009 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  25. PeterJ

    Republican or Democrat, this is the most appropriate statement regarding this issue:

    "Something this important needs to be done right, rather than done quickly.”

    July 18, 2009 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
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