July 19th, 2009
10:27 AM ET
5 years ago

'None of this is easy,' Obama aide says of health care reform


WASHINGTON (CNN) – A senior aide to President Obama said Sunday that the president’s ambitious goal of having a health care reform bill done by Congress’ August recess remains on track despite some recent indications that Congress may not be able to get the legislation done within Obama’s timeframe.

“None of this is easy,” Obama Budget Director Peter Orszag said Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union, “there’s a reason why this hasn’t happened in 50 years and we’re making a lot of progress.”

Orszag reiterated the president’s commitment to sign a health care reform bill only if it is deficit-neutral over the first ten years after passage and Orszag acknowledged that “in the short run, some additional revenue is going to be required” to meet that condition.

Orszag revealed Sunday the White House has proposed to Congressional leaders legislative text relating to an independent commission of doctors. That panel, the administration believes, would help make the policymaking process more flexible by ultimately leading to lower health care costs and higher quality over time.

Orszag also told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King that getting the legislation done by August remains the White House’s “goal.”

“We think we can make that. We’re working towards that,” Orszag said. “There are some who are advocating delay simply because they don’t have anything to put on the table,” the Obama aide added.

Orszag rejected the suggestion that the president is taking a too hands-off approach to moving the legislation forward.

“People are reacting too much to the ebb and flow of what’s happening on a day-to-day basis,” Orszag told King. “It’s complicated. The legislative process is working. I think people are sort of reaching judgment about who is going to win the marathon based on who is ahead at, like, mile 19. Not a good way of judging things. We’re making a lot of progress.”

soundoff (58 Responses)
  1. Ken in NC

    Suzie, while you may not like the selection voters made for President or you may not agree with his position on issues, at least show some respect for the President. I am certain he is not a "BOY" as you so foolishly claim. The level of mental knowledge you have displayed is that of a Redneck that has just graduated from the third grade for the fourth time.

    As far as vacation is concerned, we never herd anything like this from the cronies that loved the Bushes so much when they took off for Camp David or Crawford, TX. or Kennebunkport Main. Give the man a break. Keep your jealously to yourself.

    July 19, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  2. Tom M

    We are trying to fix the wrong thing (high insurance costs). There needs to be a root casue analysis to determine why insurance costs are high. It could be any number of things, malpractice insurance costs, fraud, waste, or a combination. The thing is we don't know.
    For example:
    Insurance costs are high because of high medical care costs. True or false? If true, Why? Because of malpractice insurance costs? True or false and if true, why? And so on. Then attack the root cause.

    One thing I know for sure, supplying high cost health insurance to everyone without a real root cause analysis will result in national bankruptcy.

    July 19, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  3. S Callahan

    It's best to 'take your time' in working through the kinks of obtaining national, or guaranteed, health insurance.

    Please pray for Bowe Berghdal....held by Haggani....God is watching very closely . Let not you sword or hand be against this man....God is watching.

    July 19, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  4. Debby, NJ

    Susie July 19th, 2009 11:00 am ET

    And now he's going to Martha's Vineyard for VACATION?? He's been on vacation since he was elected!!!! This boy LOVES to Vacation, Fly and Spend!!! Another STIMULATING trip for the NoBama – when will he WORK??????? And where will be be ensconsed this time!!!! On OUR $$$$. What a party boy!!! Millions to be spent on this joy ride, too!!!!!
    ****************************************************************************
    Get a life, and try to keep up with the facts. I'm sure that its difficult for you Repugs, but try okay. The President pays for his vacations unlike your buddy Bush who was in Crawford every weekend. Who do you think paid for his travels, and where the hell were you then with your WHINING?!

    By the way he is no Boy...All MAN...be carefull with your racist comments...By the way you probably don't pay taxes...talking about our tax $$$'s, give me a break. Should have been taking about tax $$$'s eight years ago...again where were your protest then?

    July 19, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  5. susie

    Guess what there are two Susie's on this site!

    July 19, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  6. Dante

    the presidents plan has very little to do with providing care to the uninsured........the uninsured receive care every day......i work in healthcare and i have NEVER seen someone with no insurance who needed care denied and sent away.... ..it has everything to do with government power and control.........the very number, 40 million, is misleading and just part of obama's campaign of deceit ........of that number, 10 miilion are illegal aliens, 10 million are young (and healthy) people who have jobs but don't want to spend money on insurance, 10 million are between jobs and yet to be covered with their new jobs (COBRA helps with this and admittedly this number is rising with the lousy economy and rising unemployment) and the remaining 10 million are those working but not covered by their employers and who don't make enough to buy a plan on their own......that leaves over 250 million americans with good to adequate healthcare insurance coverage.....so america's healhcare does not need OVERHAUL.....it needs a little reform and needs to be tweaked....perhaps tax breaks and stipends to help lower income individuals, a bill to cover everyone for catastrophic coverage, better regulation of the insurance industry relating to coverage for preexisting conditions and loss of job, etc.......exactly what others and republicans have proposed and are proposing but the dems shut everyone else out of the legislative process and want to ram their version of healthcare reform through and then complain that the republicans don't offer any alternatives.....such incredible BS.....
    what we do not need is a bill that the government's own CBO says will dramatically increase the deficit, will drive up costs, and lead to rationing of care and i'm willing to predict will piss off a large majority of americans, especially seniors, who like their current coverage........and don't believe those liberal sponsored polls about how canadians love their system........they only poll young and healthy people who don't or haven't used the system........of course they like the system, it doesn't cost them and they are HEALTHY......the polls should only include those that have actually had to seek medical care.......it is RATIONED and inadequate, thats why they come here to the states.............have a nice day

    July 19, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  7. jp,michigan

    why rush the issue? Everything Obama wants is a life or death issue. They rushed the stimulus package through and only 9% of the moneyies went out. Majority of the states are not using the stimulus monies to keep or develop new jobs. They are using the monies to help maintain their states budgets. Teachers, fire fighters and police officers are stil being laid off. If Canadians are coming here to get healthcare, since canadian socialized healthcare is so slow in helping those who need help now, where will Americans go for thier emmergancy health care needs. " USSA? The problem with Socialist, is that you eventually run out of other people's money." M.Thatcher. " Government is not the solution to our jproblems. Government is the Problem!" President Ronald Regan.

    July 19, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  8. jp,michigan

    " USSA? The problemwith socialist is that you eventually run out of other peoples money!" M. Thatcher.

    July 19, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  9. MIchael

    I agree with Alice. No health care is a form of slavery, in that it enslaves people to a system that is broken and not being fixed, They give up, become disillusioned, and suffer needlessly.

    I applaud President Obama for putting this issue front and centre and doing all he can to get the people what they need. Health care, without going bankrupt.

    All the bodies along the way. People in the world's superpower with no health care, put a man on he moon and go to mars but can't get decent medical care for it citizens...something is wrong with this picture. Behind it all, is someone or some organization making buckets of money. Just see who is profiting from others misery and you will find the culprit.

    July 19, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  10. lynn in NM

    The problem is it is always easier to grow government intervention in lives. The more power they have, the more they want. It doesn't take a village to raise a child. All it takes is someone that is willing to work.

    July 19, 2009 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  11. Peter

    I find it ironical a blessed Nation like United States health care is # 37 in the World (WHO). That means if we continue doing the same stuff as usual within another 5 years the health care will be roughly # 87 equivalent to some third world health care.

    July 19, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  12. who said it was going to be easy

    get out of the third grade and get the work done

    I support you, but tire from the whines

    July 19, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  13. Fair is Fair

    @ Lynda –

    Contrary to what you may believe, I use one nom de plume – and that would be "Fair is Fair".

    With respect to rationing – NEVER once in practicing medicine for almost 20 years did I deny care to a patient based on his or her ability to pay. NEVER... and as long as I continue to practice, I never will.

    Primary care is key to solving the problem. But there's a big issue. There simply are not enough primary care physicians – especially geriatrics. So 1 of 2 things occurs – the condition worsens, so it becomes chronic... or the patient winds up in the ER.

    If part of healthcare reform was to encourage our next generation of physicians to go into the primary care fields, perhaps by forgiveness of post-graduate student loans, I would be all for it.

    There should also be a primary care facility as an adjunct to most, if not all, emergency rooms.

    Just those 2 things would go a long, long way.

    July 19, 2009 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  14. southerncousin

    Oh the poor thing, a high paying job and great health care. This apologist Obamatron needs to go home and dip his head in the sand, like all the rest of the Obamatrons.

    July 19, 2009 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  15. JJ

    @ Debbie, NJ

    The President pays for his vacations unlike your buddy Bush who was in Crawford every weekend.

    WOW what are you smoking. Just HOW does he pay for Air Force One, Marine One and the host of Secret Service agents???????

    Here's a clue... The TAX payers are paying for it...

    July 19, 2009 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  16. ken

    I give Obama credit for trying. If we try in life – we will succeed maybe not in the form one desires but if we can get to some functional level of healthcare for americans it would be great. if we have to take the rich more – ok but dont go to far. Maybe look at a 1% national sales tax – internet sales which is largely not taxed at all. Keep the doctors in the fold – perhaps a new review board to stem the tide of malpractice lawsuits – maybe limit awards to some degree – to 1 million dollars.
    Involve current health care providers directly – go around these HMO's
    who limit care.
    It will have to be a broad based cause and it can be done. I think forcing employer to pay is a bad idea. i think encouraging employers to pay is a
    good idea. Any thoughts?

    July 19, 2009 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  17. Aunt Bea and Opie

    dont listen to the paid street teamers that are out enmass now.They are paid to overload the posting sites and tell you all the lies they can makeup.

    July 19, 2009 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  18. Fair is Fair

    @ Peter, whoi said:

    "I find it ironical a blessed Nation like United States health care is # 37 in the World (WHO). That means if we continue doing the same stuff as usual within another 5 years the health care will be roughly # 87 equivalent to some third world health care."
    _________________________

    Peter, please. Quoting this statistic does it no justice. Please consider LIFESTYLE. Americans are obese – directly leading to chronic illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Let's not forget exercise... something that is sorely lacking in our society. Americans also travel more miles by automobile than any other society. I could go on and on... but to compare life expectancy with the healthcare system is simply disingenuous.

    July 19, 2009 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  19. Barry Aycock

    With all the information available, pro and con, in many types of media to inform ones self about health care, it would behoove commentators on this site to post truthful comments rather than emotional rants. The greatest threat to democracy is an uninformed citizenry and the powerful who wish to shape policy know that. I would prefer to read an intelligent back and forth about merits instead of ignorant "shouting at the TV" comments that many readers know are untruths being fed to the willingly unthinking.

    July 19, 2009 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  20. Tatianna

    When the going gets tough, Obama resorts in campaign speech mode and then goes galavanting, leaving our nation in limbo because he dosent comprehend the office of POTUS. The stakes are higher and his tendency to talk faster than he thinks. Dems time is up using Bush and reps as scapegoats. Obama and dems hold govt power and need to start accepting accountability and incomptence. Blamming past admin doesnt serve our nation. Americans already held reps responsible by voting them out of office. Obama and dems campaigned on moving our country forward yet they continue rehashing the past. Obama and dems called Bush and reps fearmongers. Dems are of the party spreading fear tactics. Repeatedly saying crisis so they can usefully create the psychological conditions for enacting this Big Bang agenda to federalize healthcare.They did it with stimulus, and bailouts. Obama is learning campaiging is alot easier than being POTUS. I remember dems attacked Bush for saying: being president is hard work. Reform health care – worthy and weighty as it may be, is not the cause or cure of our financial collapse. Whats going on? You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. WELCOME TO OBAMAs AMERICA – BE AFRAID, BE VERY AFRAID!

    July 19, 2009 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  21. Steve in Las Vegas,NV

    If Nobama thinks a state run insurance (GOVCO Insurance) works well, just study how bad the Canadian health care system works...Very slowly, very high taxes, not many choices, very long waiting time to get the care. It only sounds until you have to use it!!

    Why is there such a rush to get this passed? No answers as to how much any of this will really cost!!

    There must be a good answer, but this is not it! My father lives in Canada and he hates it, and no choices either

    July 19, 2009 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  22. Mary

    This corrupt administration believes in lining the executives pockets at AIG, with my taxpayer money!! Why hasn't AIG paid back my money? Why isn't Obama speaking on this? Because, he is as corrupt as AIG!

    When Obama and Congress won't sign up for the plan they have for the uninsured, you can be assured it's more corruption. I supported Obama in 2008, but I'm already looking for a new 2012 candidate, one who has common sense and honesty!

    July 19, 2009 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  23. catmom

    No it's not easy . It will be harder because Republicans and some Democrats are determined not to let this happen. Heaven forbid that this President would actually achieve something for hard working middle class people. Heaven forbid that this President would achieve something this country so desperately needs. My goodness, if that happens Republicans would never get back in power. They have to do everything they can to see this President fails. Republicans could care less for the average American, heck, we don't have anything to offer them.

    July 19, 2009 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  24. Chris

    If this plan were limited to people who plan on paying or who have reached retirement age (62 or older), then I would say go with it. Obama's plan is to find a way to cover all those people who refuse to work their way through life and want government assistance on everything they do.

    July 19, 2009 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  25. Mary

    I am also very glad to see Gerald Walpin taking President Obama to court! The man was exposing corruption that involved the Obama's, so Obama fires him! To quote Obama "No one is above the law"!!

    July 19, 2009 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
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