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. Mo Ahmed

    Get Ed Henry or Suzanne Malveaux to press Obama on the truth behind the TV ads of Rick Scott?CNN and Fox have run segments challenging Rick Scott's background and assertions. Why not have a real discussion on the key points of reforms being proposed, the costs and the benefits and the the tradeoffs? Why not bring insurance companies, AMA, AARP, drug companies, healthcare providers, Kathleen Sibelius and Rick Scott to debate the real facts and issues? This could be followed up by Fact Check by experts in CBO, the academia and think tanks. The public will be well served by CNN, the press and media outlets.

    July 18, 2009 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  2. Mark, Phoenix

    Senator Kyl loves to use the term "Small Businesses" instead of what it really is: the very wealthy top 1%. The GOP has been doing this for years to befuddle the masses because it works. Everyone cheers for small business, but few love the Bernie Madoffs of the world. Senator Kyl is truly only concerned about the special interests who help keep him in office: insurance companies, doctors, hospitals, and pharmaceutical companies. If you want your insurance premiums to contunue soaring every year, Kyl's your man. Personally, I'm proud that the President isn't afraid to tackle important issues like healthcare reform.

    July 18, 2009 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  3. cw

    Heard a Christian radio station comparing Healthcare Reform to a 'rapid slide into socialism and it's evils' then talking about all the horrible things the Obama plan would cover (like birth control, abortion, invitro, sexual identity counseling, and Viagra)

    So YES – those poor "Christians" in rural areas – many of whom are poor and uninsured – are being misled by their crooked leaders into rallying against Health Care Reform like it's Roe v Wade or Gay Marriage...

    I hope congress looks at the bill – NOT at the $ changing hands to fight it. Pass or fail – we all know how much lobbying those health care / insurance firms are throwing around – and in the least expected places.


    July 18, 2009 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  4. Lydia

    Why should we believe that Congress will get this done with 'a little more time?' They have never done it before. The delay tactics and the scare tactics are just the result of special interests trying to preserve their fat profits on the backs of our health. The arguments against the President's plan are often outright lies. This is not 'Washington run' healthcare nor is it going to increase the deficit or raise taxes on small businesses. If people fall for that nonsense and allow the status quo to continue, wealth will continue to be a requirement in this country for having one's health

    July 18, 2009 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  5. Bro. Lee

    The repubs could have stoppted that October bale out money but they said not a word. Now were surpose to believe they have the interest of the people on their mind, PLEASE!

    July 18, 2009 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  6. scared

    rupublicans are scared of progress...you dont say

    July 18, 2009 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  7. John

    Why the hurry Obama? It must be enacted within 2 weeks because you ONLY have 3 1/2 years left in your presidency. Obama believes someone who makes $1 Million a year should fork over $54,000 to pay for this. Most people that make this money are small business owners. Less money for them equals more layoffs of their employees and higher unemployment. I can't believe I voted for this socialist, but I guess the alternative wasn't much better since McCain believes we should be fighting in Iran & N Korea on top of Iraq & Afghanistan. Ron Paul 2012! He's our only hope people.

    July 18, 2009 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  8. Neutralizer

    The ONLY interest group in this FRAUD socialize medicine are the DEMOCRAPS lead by Obambi who wanted to turn this country into SOCIALIST COUNTRY. VOTE THESE DEMOCRAPS OUT OF OFFFICE!

    July 18, 2009 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  9. John

    The bottom line: What's so scary about health care for all Americans? Let's get the Healthcare Industry OUT of our pocket books NOW.

    July 18, 2009 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  10. Adam Mazur

    Is there any place where one can read details of the proposed health care reforms? So far I only hear both sides trading assaults. All these arguments sound like we all soon dye if the new system is implemented and the same will happen if nothing is changed.

    July 18, 2009 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  11. Rumsfeld

    Wrapping this country in fear is so very easy to do. It always has been an efficient and effective way to "legislate" the masses, the sheep.
    Do your own research and learn. Regardless of the media-noise, some form of change in our current system is entirely possible. Do not live in ignorance of the facts on this matter. If one does not like the plan being presented currently, speak up from a position of knowledge not ignorance. We all know that something has to change in regard to healthcare. Be a conscious part of that change.

    July 18, 2009 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  12. Anonymous

    It seems by trying to rush this plan through, you have something to hide. Mr. President-What health care plan will you and YOUR family be using when your reform starts?
    I'm sure it won't be the same one you will be forcing the rest of the country to use!

    The system needs to be fixed, but not by having the government take over health care!

    July 18, 2009 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  13. Joel Kaserman

    Absolutely Yes! We need health care reform now. I have heard the ads on television already trotted out by the Republican Party and it's backers. They are designed to make people afraid of changing anything. We see an ad with a woman from Canada saying that medical care in the U.S. saved her life. So where are the Democratic ads that tell people where America currently ranks in the industrialized world in terms of health care provided for it's citizens – just about at the bottom. Where is the ad that shows a woman lying dead on an emergency room floor? Where are the responses to tell people that our senators and representatives are covered by a great government run health care plan.

    July 18, 2009 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  14. David Schlemmer

    I'm with my president that Health Care reform should come this year, but a few extra weeks wont hurt. There is no need to raise taxes if we are willing to close a few bases overseas and Make Mal-Practice Insurance Not for profit. Put all the money for Mal-Practice into one pool, and add some tort reform with caps on lawsuits we can cut cost for private insurers. We also have to make sure with any public plan that the free market does not take advantage of the government ( Via our tax dollars). Over Testing and over medicating have to be addressed in any plan. The system has to be reformed and a balanced must be struck between covering the social need and the free market in a way that benefits both. This is why I believe the government should take over Mal-Practice Insurance and set caps on lawsuits and should be a part of any plan going forward. Being a Republican I hope my party starts offering some real solutions and quits trying to play chess as if Americans are pawns wavering in the balance and do not matter. This is a moment in history in which we should come together as a nation and fix Health Care in which we all know that our system is lacking. To do anything else is a disgrace to the office we elected you to.

    July 18, 2009 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  15. sarah K.

    Some people think by not rushing into healthcare is a smart thing. To take a measured approach doesn't mean you are siding with the the big pharma or the insurance companies, it means you want to get it right. The only reason Obama wants to rush it is just to get it done in a way that the government gets a lot more control. More bureauocracy is rarely efficient. I side with the moderate Dems who want to get it right. I think the majority of Americans are closer to the middle than to either the far right or far left. We rushed into the stimulus package which had little stimulus and only a small portion has been given out. Why did we have to rush then. Why do we have to rush now. Think about it.

    July 18, 2009 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  16. Dan, TX

    This guy has no direction. He will either blame George W. Bush or GOP. He already spent our money for the last six months and he just cannot get it. Blame others while you can do nothing. No experience. He is a total joke. All other countries across the world are laughing at us. Our president is a big talk and no substance, no policy, no leadership. This guy should be removed from the office immediately before he does more damage to a common man on the street.

    July 18, 2009 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  17. Lance

    Mr. President- there are intelligent, informed people who oppose the current legislation for good reason. I want change, but I want it to be good change. The bills that we have seen do almost nothing to impact cost, and realistically will have little effect on the number of uninsured. We can do better, and, as important as this issue is, we can take to time to do that. This type of reform needs more than the president's promise that it is good, it requires due discussion and fair consensus. Obama's unreasoned hurry, his disrespectful disdain for the opposing viewpoint, and his unwillingness to dirty his hands with the process of developing the actual legislation, is one of the reasons that I am yet another moderate independant who has completly lost faith in this president.

    July 18, 2009 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  18. History will speak

    In the future schools will be offering courses on the demise of the Republican party in the year 2009. The courses will begin with "The Party of No 101".

    July 18, 2009 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  19. Andrew

    Obama's use of rhetoric, straw-man arguments, and just plain manipulating is insulting to every American. Opposing a bad bill that the U.S. does not have money for is an old argument Obama, a good one. It is amazing how the focus of this adminstration and the Democrats in congress is pushing anything through instead of getting health care reform right. This is purely politics and not helpful to the Americans people. This is what you people voted for.

    July 18, 2009 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  20. paksa

    This plan and the actions of the President are outrageous and an insult to the intellingence of the American people. Nowhere but in this administration, in any situation, would people be expected to accept such ill-thought out and hastily planned ways to spend billions of dollars (which we do not have) on an unproven plan that places the health of constituents in even more jeopordy – in the hands of a government-run health plan! The elderly would definitely be short-changed with added layers of red-tape and government control. This plan also gives no incentive to the uninsured – just more encouragement to be dependent.

    July 18, 2009 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  21. Jerry

    As a medical student who works with residents on a daily basis, his plan for healthcare will be disastrous to us. We have hard enough of time trying to pay back our $200,000 in loans on a salary of $52,000 during residency while working over 80 hours a week. The sacrifices we make to train and work as physicians is paramount.

    FIrst & foremost,I feel bad for the patients because they will be the first to suffer. It takes months to receive care in other countries. I have personally seen the wait it takes for patients to get healthcare while on overseas rotations. In addition, many future physicians (residents, medical students) are planning to jump ship if his health care plan is passed and forces us to work even harder for a smaller income. An MD can get you elsewhere without actually practicing clinical medicine. I promise the physician shortage that we have now will worsen far more than you would think.

    July 18, 2009 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  22. windfall

    i read the Ticker every day, and to be honest, they use the word "slams" too much.
    the definition is: A harsh or devastating criticism.

    rarely have i read anything that i would consider devastating.

    July 18, 2009 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  23. A.

    The argument that Republicans make about small businesses is relatively moot, since most small businesses can't afford to offer health care in the first place. Those who DO offer health care, offer watered down packages that allow the employees to get a feeling that they are covered for illnesses/prescriptions/tests/etc., but are actually under-covered. And yet the premiums for these watered down packages are still fairly outrageous.

    So who is benefiting from these types of health plans? Those who administer them. They get to charge $$ for them, and they get the advantage of denying health care because certain illnesses/prescriptions/tests/etc. are not covered by them.

    Oh, and then there are the % of patient responsibilities and copays...

    The Democrats' argument revolves around making things less expensive. How are they to know if a new government health care plan will be less expensive? Sure, there are less overhead costs, but is that all there is to the expense of the health care? They should concentrate on talking about the LEVEL of care provided instead of the cost.

    July 18, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  24. rick

    The Republicans have nothing new to add to the discussion of national healthcare. They are in the pockets of the rich industries, including the health insurance industry and will do anything they can to keep the profits rolling in to their masters. We need a national healthcare system desparetly. There are too many of us out here who can not afford health care for ourselves and our families. It is a special kind of hell to see someone you love suffering from a treatable condition yet you can not come up with the money it takes to help them. I am in that situation now. The Republicans rant on and on about rationed health care. Well our present health without care system rations it now. We need a public health insurance plan that everyone can afford. It is a wiser choice for government to spend money on helping the people who support it than to waste more on weapon systems that don'e work. If a nation cannot care for its people it should not expect them to pay their taxes or serve in the military!

    July 18, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  25. Tony in Maine

    Obama needs to advise the Republican leadership that there are consequences for continuing to obstruct simply because they want the Democrats to fail.

    The electorate elected Obama after he clearly stated his intent to reform healthcare including the public option. McConnell, Boehner, Cantor and their acolytes are far more concerned with the welfare of the health insurance companies than the good of the American people. They should be ashamed, but of course, they aren't since they have sold their souls to K St and lobbyists bribes.

    July 18, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
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