July 25th, 2009
12:28 PM ET
9 years ago

Obama challenges reform detractors to explain themselves

WASHINGTON (CNN) – President Barack Obama is soldiering on - apparently unfazed by growing dissension within his own party’s ranks over health care reform.

Related: House Democrats splinter over health care

Despite increasing signs that Democrats in Congress will not meet the August 7 deadline originally imposed by Obama for passage of health care reform legislation, Obama is challenging his political opponents to explain their opposition to reforming the nation’s health care system.

“I know there are those who are urging us to delay reform,” Obama says in his weekly address out Saturday. “And some of them have actually admitted that this is a tactic designed to stop any reform at all. Some have even suggested that, regardless of its merits, health care reform should be stopped as a way to inflict political damage on my Administration. I’ll leave it to them to explain that to the American people.”

Related: GOP ratchets up health care reform debate

Obama uses the bulk of his address to make the case that small businesses will benefit from Democrats’ health care reform plan.

Related: Dems' plan 'a prescription for disaster,' GOP says

Citing a report by the White House Council of Economic Advisers that was also released Saturday, Obama says small businesses are paying up to 18 percent more than larger businesses do for the same health insurance plans.

These higher costs, says Obama, cause small business owners to be less likely to offer health insurance in the first place, to offer less generous plans, to cut benefits, to drop coverage, to cut jobs, or to close their doors altogether.

“This is unsustainable, it’s unacceptable, and it’s going to change when I sign health insurance reform into law,” the president says in Saturday’s address.

Earlier in the week, Obama appeared to set a new deadline for health care reform legislation.

“Let me just be clear,” Obama said at an Ohio town hall-style event dedicated to health care Thursday, “If there’s not a deadline in Washington, nothing happens -nothing ever happens.”

Responding to comments earlier in the day from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid that the Senate was not likely to vote on health care reform before the start of the congressional recess on August 7, Obama said “[t]hat’s okay. I just want people to keep on working. Just keep working.”

“And I want it done by the end of this year. I want it done by the fall,” the president added.

Filed under: Health care • Popular Posts • President Obama
soundoff (183 Responses)
  1. SuzyQ

    So Obama says, “And I want it done by the end of this year. I want it done by the fall." I, for one, am sick and tired of this man's continual ultimatums. He sounds like a spoiled child. This is not about what he "wants." It's about what the CITIZENS of this country want and need. I do not care about health care for illegals or for deadbeats. This wannabee dictator needs to get a grip and stop favoring illegals and deadbeats over good, productive citizens.

    July 25, 2009 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  2. Neil

    Is this "King Obama"? If you don't agree with him you have to explain yourself. Where is the money going to come from? Isn't that the main cause for concern? We honestly can't afford this legislation, but since when does Obama care about what we can afford?

    July 25, 2009 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  3. Anonymous

    The GOP side won't give their opinions. All we hear is how "Obama's" plan won't work.

    Wake up people. Obama is NOT writing this bill. Congress is writing it, and then they will complain they didn't have time to read it. THEY ARE WRITING IT.

    Are all of you naysayers really that ignorant of how laws are made. Congress writes the bills.

    July 25, 2009 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  4. Belle1

    There are clauses in the bill that will mean 80 million Americans will have to enroll in the government plan. Their 1.3 Trillion dollar "fix" still leaves 30 Million uninsured. Now with 31 new agencies added...yup that sure will be not a penny added to the deficit.

    Within the last six months, government take overs along with energy and health care will mean government will own 85% of America's GDP. 85%.

    By the way, why isn't the FED audited. 23.7 Trillion to bank bailouts? Where is this money coming from...oh...who cares...all the Reps and Senators will be dead while children not born yet will be paying for this mess.

    July 25, 2009 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  5. reg

    hello? GOP against health reform? Geeze you CNN "journalists" are so inept..
    GOP is against Obama's plan. There are many GOP reform plans out there: centerforhealthtransformation.com

    July 25, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  6. Barbara

    Keep pushing President Obama. So many of us middle-class Americans you are fighting for are right by your side. Those in Congress fighting you every step of the way already have their health insurance wrapped up in a nice neat-fat-package. And then there are those trying to distract the public by fanning the fires on side issues. As you say, this time we can not settle for the status quo. Proud of you Mr. President!

    July 25, 2009 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  7. Elam

    Typical. Obama has majorties in the Senate and House and he wants to blame the GOP. Heres a tip. Come up with a plan that won't set the country back trillions of dollars and be truthful about it and even your own party might go along.

    July 25, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  8. buckwheat

    I do not see why Congress has any problem at all with health care changes. I will gladly accept the same thing they have and I know my sons and grandchildren would be happy also. While we are all waiting to see this change we were promised put them on that 20 year retirement at full pay the Congress and President has. Not many of us will ever get to move out of a mansion into public housing and retire so well. Usually has to work the other way.

    July 25, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  9. MillerJ

    What a difference 6 months can make – even his most vehement distractors couldn't have guessed Obama would falter so much in just 6 months.

    July 25, 2009 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  10. Reggie

    Obama is the one who needs to explain himself. He's the one proposing radical spending changes.

    Maybe that's why his approval rating, after 6 months, is the 3rd lowest of all presidents since WWII.

    July 25, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  11. Operation Crush Rush

    Tell them Mr.President.The foot and knuckle draggers will not win.The people of America will win.Its an all out war against the paid K street gang.Use Rico laws if we have too.We will crush them and their rightwing taliban ilk.

    July 25, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  12. Melissa

    They won't explain themselves because they can't. Everything they keep talking about isn't based in reality. They take a minute amount of bad things and blow them up to mountain sized proportions. Its incredibly aggravating.

    July 25, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  13. Susan

    Maybe if President Obama could actually explain this boondaggle of a healthcare package, he'd have better support, but then again, he hasn't read it either.

    The Democrat's have the majority in both houses, why can't you get your own party behind it?

    Stop blaming other people Mr. President, you're doing a great job damaging your own Administration.

    July 25, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  14. lied to

    What part of no one trusts Obama does Obama not understand.
    The folks back home don't want this. The see Obama as a guy who want to add a HUGE unfunded entitlement to a country that is not able to pay for it.
    They also are very wary of his motives in growing government's role in our medical care. The more we understand about how a public option will eventually force us to leave our private insurance, the more we don't want it.
    I want HC reform, but I don't want to tear down America in the process.
    Look at California and Mass. if you want to see where Obama will take us. California has more social services than the populace can pay for. This is Obama's plan. California deficits for all of us.

    July 25, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  15. Jay from Jersey

    I just want to hear an alternative to the Presidents plan.
    That is all most of us want from the opposition. But, I think we will NOT get one because the GOP and conservative DEMS have their heads so far up their own Keyster that they will just attack the plan and nothing else. How sad for all of us that we vote these people into office.

    July 25, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  16. Dennis

    Mr. President, you have some explaining to do. You haven't been honest regarding the huge costs and rationing that will result from your healthcare plan.
    The truth is, the American people don't want Obama's plan. According to Rasmussen, 53% of Americans are in opposition. Blue Dog Democrats and Republicans are doing their patriotic duty in listening to the will of the people and opposing this plan. Our healthcare system does need some tweaking, but Obama's plan will destroy the greatest healthcare system in the world.

    July 25, 2009 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  17. Nathan

    Until health reform is passed, suspend federal employee's health insurance benefits – including congressman and senators. Let them feel the pressure of having no insurance and see how quickly they get someting done.

    July 25, 2009 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  18. Jim Tayberry

    Why does he spend so much time harping on the GOP on this issue? It is his own party that is stalling the bill – GOP rhetoric is just that – rhetoric. Why doesn't he attack his own party?

    July 25, 2009 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  19. LMC

    It is pretty obvious that the Republican party is only out to bring down President Bush, the head of the party has stated this! How sad that politics are more important to the Republican party than their constituents. Two thirds of bankruptcies in our country are caused by health care costs! Does this happen in Europe or Canada? No! Is our country willing to let people continue to go without health care or go bankrupt because they have a catastrophic illness or injury? I believe this is shameful. Every citizen of our country deserves good health care without going bankrupt or being fearful because they are out of work. We need to pull together for the good of all and forget our political differences!

    July 25, 2009 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  20. Aspen Professor

    When the Repubs have NO answer, they stop changes. That is not a surprise! The Dems have suggested a tax increase of 1% on the folks earning over $1 million per year..

    The Repubs have countered with the charge that would mean tax increases for the "middle income group". The Repub lies continue as, apparently, their only alternative idea?

    It is sad to watch.

    July 25, 2009 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  21. Steve, Columbia SC

    Mr President, you explain the merits of what is coming out of your demoncrat Congress. Everything I have read and heard from CBO, your own party, conservative demoncrats, and Republicans is that there is NO merit to what has been proposed. When I consider spending this much money, I spend a great deal of time making sure I make the best decision.

    We are not asking for delay, but DUE DILIGENCE, something our government has been reluctant to demonstrate in its history of the past 40 years, and even less so in your administration so far.

    July 25, 2009 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  22. Roger

    Explain myself? Gee politics was funner when we simply trashed each other. Now our President is calling for intelligent & logical debate? O.K. here goes......I'm against health care reform because I listen to Rush Limbaugh!!! Hows that, is the a good enough explaination?

    July 25, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  23. D. Tree

    Many Conservative Members of Congress choose the Public Option for themselves and they seem to like it.

    So why are they standing in the way of the rest of us having the same choice?

    July 25, 2009 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  24. axh

    I'm happy with my health care coverage. I do not want government in my doctor's office! This is a recipe for disaster!

    NO, no and no! Government cannot run health care!

    July 25, 2009 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  25. Whatever...

    Moo-moo, that's the sound of an American with insurance in this country.

    $2.2 Trillion a year spent on healthcare, this year right now. No, it's not called a "tax" but it might as well be. And the GOP is actually able to convince some of us that $1Trillion is irresponsible? Do the math!

    Do we really expect the insurance giants to slash their profits in half without any competition from a public insurance option? Are we really that naive? And didn't they promise reform in '93/'94?

    Wake up America! Stop being the cash cow of the insurance industry!

    July 25, 2009 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
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