July 18th, 2009
01:07 PM ET
5 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. Mo Ahmed

    Why not have a moderated (by Dr. Sanjay Gupta) debate with GOP critics, AARP, AMA, CBO, Kathleen Sibelius, Max Baucus, an uninsured US citizen, and an unemployed US citizen who has lost his healthcare insurance? Lets get to the facts. Do a Fact Check on the ads.

    July 18, 2009 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  2. clevelandindian

    Something needs to be done and someone has to pay for it. Most people agree and add, "not me". A good place to start is to have Congress be required to come under the new system.

    Isn't it strange that Congress has traditionally exempted itself from "reform" programs.

    July 18, 2009 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  3. Dr. Kevorkian

    Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III (heavens, there were two more!) has certainly "spooked" me. He's got some "splainin" to do. I feel ill!

    July 18, 2009 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  4. Tom J Huffman

    I hope they will at least have the time to read the bill and know what they are voting on this time. Why all the hurry.

    July 18, 2009 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  5. Matt in CT

    Hey Obama, how about you take a moment to actually let everyone read the bill in addition to taking a moment to answering your critics arguments. What a novel idea.

    July 18, 2009 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  6. RR

    yeah, let's rush it through and just settle for something that may not save a dime in the future according to the NON-PARTISAN Congressional Budget Office!

    Obama needs to stop with the "act now!" scare tactics.

    July 18, 2009 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  7. tlobe

    Pres Obama failed to mention Rep Pelosi, Sen Reid, Rep Waxman, his vice president, and numerous others as purveyors of scare tactics–depicting Republicans as bad for the country: the party of no, puppets of the rich (Democrats have as many if not more rich patrons of the party as the Republicans) and on and on and on to the extent that sound like broken records. The president needs to dress down his party's congressional leadership far more than he needs to attack Republicans. The autocratic methods of Speaker Pelosi and Leader Reid have done more to stifle progress on key issues than have the Republican minority.

    July 18, 2009 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  8. Brad

    We Americans are so after-the-fact reactive that I do not think we will get meaningful health care reform until the current system completely caves in. Those that own Congress benefit from scaring us into leaving things alone. Sure, something will likely pass, but I suspect the "reform" will look much like the prescription drug bill written by the drug industry.

    July 18, 2009 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  9. Bosworth

    Yes, Republicans will use "scare tactics" to get their point across. Not too dissimilarly, in fact, from the scare tactics Democrats keep peddling, such as "the economy will collapse and the world with it," if we don't pass this pork-stuffed stimulus package. Or, the world will spontaneously burn up into a carbon cinder if we don't immediately tax utilities into nonexistences as a means of forcing the development of alternate power technologies in another 100 years. Or, the health care system will collapse and people will die unless we create insurmountable competition against the health care industry.

    True, the Republicans will resort to "scare tactics." But, let's not try to pretend the Democrats aren't also doing it. That's because "scare tactics" is what most people call "politics." It is a common tactic employed against people who are unable to discern between "politics" and "reality."

    Come on, people – sift through the nonsense and pick out the facts for yourself. Despite their pleas to the contrary, neither your politicians nor the press will ever really do it for you.

    July 18, 2009 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  10. Grizzly

    You don't have to be a member of the GOP to see that rushing legislation through Congress that fundamentally changes a major part of American life is the wrong approach. Something this important, apparently extremely important to the President, needs to be put together carefully and with a lot of thought. Unfortunately, that is not the way that this Congress acts. It is as if they are afraid that if the American people get a chance to really look at the current proposal, they will not like it and will revolt against them.

    As a country, we go through change all the time. Some good, some bad. But doing something just to do something, without forethought and planning, is a recipe for disaster.

    I have two questions:
    1.) Does it make any sense that we are going to reduce costs by introducing a bill that will ADD 1.5 TRILLION dollars of bureaucracy?

    2.) Do you really trust the same group that has instituted and bankrupted Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security to manage the health care process for the entire country?

    Answer those questions honestly and see if you support the current plan in Congress.

    July 18, 2009 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  11. Healthcare for all...

    Healthcare needs to be a right for everyone...Obama, stick to your guns and get this done so the Healthcare companies can no longer cherry pick who they insure and deny claims so they can make the maximum profit...then, after they cherry pick, the cost falls to the state and federal level.

    This means, that the government is covering only the most expensive health care costs while the private sector is taking the cream. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH...pass the bill...

    July 18, 2009 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  12. Chris

    It would be great if anyone, including our government, could rein in the high cost of health care. What would not be great is to put the burden of maintaining health care for people who do not even try to earn their way through life on people who work hard every day of the year. Yes, the government should help the taxpayer. They should help by getting the leeches of society off the government payrolls of welfare, of food stamps, and remove them from the rolls of social services. Social services itself should be for those who are infirmed, injured, sick, and elderly. Those are the people who taxpayers should be helping. There are many people in my area of the country who work small, individual jobs and pay zero taxes. They show zero work income, they collect from the government and it's a crime. I expect Obama to stop these types of crimes and look out for the real heros of America, the working people who make up the backbone of America.

    July 18, 2009 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  13. jennifer

    Again, Obama is in such a hurry to get something questionable passed. I thought he wanted debate and effective results. I'm tired of sloppy and wasteful bills. Please slow down and get it right the first time!

    July 18, 2009 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  14. ila

    what is this going to Medicare
    we are giving imigrints free health care.
    and our co-pays keep going up?

    July 18, 2009 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  15. mary dale

    We need to ram it thru like the republicans did with the medicare drug program, anybody remember that one – they lied about the cost outright and threathened to fire anyone who let the truth be known until the vote was over. they held the vote open long enough to twist arms, offer bribes to get the votes they needed. Obama wants a health plan for Americans, not for the profits of the drug and insurance companies. We voted for change, dont let the money grubbing special interests take over this. They brag that the drug/insurance lobbies have never lost a battle, lets let them lose this one. Keep strong America and stop listening to the naysayers – they didnt think of our grandchildren when they duped America into an unnecessary war.

    July 18, 2009 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  16. Apple

    Truer words never said.

    “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,”

    I hope the GOP and others stop profiting on the pain of others. And they're supposed to be the Christian voice? For shame.

    July 18, 2009 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  17. Concerned American about health.

    This is a bill that should not be rushed. I agree with Jon Kyle on this. The more I know about this, it sounds all the more wrong. A) the cost is ridiculous – our country cannot endure that now, nor can our children endure this down the road. B) The Congressional Budget office said this plan will not reduce costs. C) This is going to make the government run health insurance. That is bad news. Not only does this administration control our auto industry, but now they want to control our health insurance. They went ahead and said they are eliminating the need for doctors to run certain tests that they feel aren't necessary. Sorry, when did this administration become doctors?! D) our health care choices are going to diminish. E) If you unfortunately need to see a specialist quickly, that will not be able to happen. In Canada as in Europe when a patient needs to see a specialist quickly, they come here because the wait in those countries is far to long.

    It's not the Republicans using "scare tactics," it's the bill that has scary and sketchy parameters on its own.

    July 18, 2009 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  18. keith in NC

    The man who helped create a crisis by using the words crisis and catastrophe in every sentence he uttered blames "scare tactics" on the GOP and then turns rght around and says we "have to pass the health care proposal rigt now or suffer greatly. How ironic is that?

    July 18, 2009 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  19. bj

    Of course the Repubs will criticize. That's what they like to do best. Where's their plan? They have none. Do they really care that the American people can't afford their prescriptions? Do they really care that the American people can't afford the high cost of medical insurance? Do they really care that many American people cannot afford to seek medical attention because they can't afford it?

    Did they come up with a plan when they controlled the White House and Congress? The American voter is tired of their tactics and will continue to deny them control until they show that they really care about the people they were elected to serve.

    July 18, 2009 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  20. Shirley S, Bethlehem, PA

    If National Health Care is such a nightmare, why are there 46 nations that are ahead of us, they are in better health and live longer than we do. For every "national health care horror story" we in this country could probably tell you a dozen stories that are worse. People have had the wrong limb removed, not in a country with National Health Care, but right here in the good old USA!

    I suggest Congress do away with it's tax payer provided health care and start paying for their own insurance. Maybe then they'll get a clue of what reality is like for the average American.

    July 18, 2009 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  21. Kevin

    Jon Kyl is right, tere is no need to pass this before the summer break. It is just too big, too important, and too much money to cram this thing through without looking at all the angles. With the banks that once again are now showing enormous profits and wanting to dole out big bonuses once again it seems to me that the stimulus plan was nothing but a scam to add to the already out of control Federal Reserve's rising indebtedness. America does not need anymore failed plans or scams especially when it will end up meaning gigantic tax hikes on any American be they rich or poor. American politicians "Get Your Spending In Order" stop already with thinking that the money you receive in DC is yours for the taking. All party's need to stop already and even now it is about 60 years past due.

    July 18, 2009 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  22. Luke

    I love this man (President Obama) pushing his agendas with no clear way of how to pay for it and just passing it on to our children. Also, with his known tobacco addiction he should start at home. If you curb tobacco related illnesses that is where you can save money. Last time I checked we don't live in a communist or socialist society. We live in a democracy, yet the democrats are trying to shove this down our throat to meet a deadline, instead of thinking it through and giving us a prrogram that is sustainable.

    July 18, 2009 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  23. Fed UP

    Well, now the Dems are realizing that they need to slow down and take a real good look at the bill of goods that Obama is trying to slam down their throats. We all need to take a long look at this Health Care Bill. This bill is trying to be rushed through by a man who hasn't had a thought of his own in his entire life. He would be totally lost without his teleprompter. There is a reason he is trying to push this through. Look at how badly his bailout plan went. Has anyone except big business with their billions of dollars in quarterly profits received any benefit from this. Those profits are direct results from Bailout money from the American People. Are we getting any of that Profit Mr Obama or are you letting your buddies keep it?

    July 18, 2009 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  24. Democrat with Buyer's Remorse!

    Scare Tactics? My god, this communist fool is destroying this country and he has the nerve to accuse smart people who see what he's doing of using scare tactics to point out his dangerous folly?

    Why doesn't he seize Oprah $2.5 billion fortune to help pay for all his programs. How dare she be so wealthy!

    Take Speilberg's and Streisand's compounds while your at it.

    Tax the liberals. Leave the rest of us alone!

    July 18, 2009 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  25. Bill Mejia

    We all know that the Republicans are the party that sold they soul to the Insurance Companies and the Special Interest Lobbies. Go ahead President we the people are 100% behind you.

    July 18, 2009 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
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