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. Holly

    Agreed. Explain yourselves, already... in more than just soundbites cause so far that's all you've provided. How about explaining why you (GOP and Southern Democrats) keep meeting with these dirty medical industry lobbyists... who pay homeless people to stand in line for them all day. Hmm?? That would be an interesting question, so how about we start with that one??

    -is all ears-

    July 25, 2009 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  2. Henry Miller, Cary, NC

    Maybe some people want to "delay reform" long enough to study the proposals? Read the actual not-yet-extent bill? As people have commented, it took Obama six months to pick a new First Dog–doesn't a multi-trillion-dollar, American-lifestyle-changing, proposal, deserve at least that much consideration? And what's the rush? An effort to panic people into signing something they haven't had time to read, something with a lot of hopefully-unnoticed gotchas like the Porkulus protection for unearned retention bonuses? That's slimy. But I guess it worked with Porkulus...

    July 25, 2009 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  3. philthetruth

    Charisma is this fool's only qualification. If he only knew what he was talking about. I hope America can survive the hippies and their pipe dreams...

    July 25, 2009 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  4. Joe Unger, San Francisco

    And there are those who want to delay simply because rushing things through led to so much trouble during the Bush era.
    Wasn't Obama critical of that?
    Ahhhhh, politicians.

    July 25, 2009 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  5. Mary Jo Wolf

    It seems to me that President Obama keep bringing up the race issue over and over again. Was his real reason for becoming president to repeat the 1960's race issues? Is he wanting riots to take the forfront and not health care?
    I also believe the president of our country should act accordingly and to give his personal opinion at a press conference with out knowing all of the facts was stepping out of line. That was such a blue collar remark.

    July 25, 2009 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  6. No Hillary = No Obama

    Obama commands and others are supposed to obey? Is this the kind of President we have? He does very little actual work, have you noticed? He makes these grand proclamations – his grandiose speeches – Congress needs to find it's backbone and stop indulging him.

    July 25, 2009 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  7. Lopez

    I urge everyone interested in health care reform to push the subject with their senators or congressmen during the recess.

    July 25, 2009 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  8. George Washington

    didn't anyone tell you before the election, that democrats don't know how to work together for the good of the country? keep trying Obama, they all voted for you, and gave you 100% approval ratings, now they give you 60% approval ratings because they don't get their own way

    July 25, 2009 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  9. Brian

    This President is starting to really disappoint.

    July 25, 2009 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  10. Brandon

    Good briefing. I haven't followed the HC reform debate much since I'm in my 20's and it's not as high up on my priority list currently, but I know it will be eventually, and I know it is very important to those that are my parents' age. This needs to get done. The GOP continues to try to stop this kind of reform, which needs to happen. I'm a registered Republican, and I'm getting pretty tired of seeing the bumbling idiocy that I'm seeing out of the Republican party on this. This needs to get done. It's not a political issue. Point blank period.

    July 25, 2009 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  11. nick - Teacher from OK

    God bless our president for this!

    July 25, 2009 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  12. Andrew

    Health care quality, availability and cost will continue to bury the US with out massive reform. Insurance companies that stuff the pockets of congress are making more profits and increasing premiums for those that can get it. Of course, they are against any competing gov't plan – profits first, people last. America's bought and paid for. It reports to the people LAST – what a corrupt illogical country.

    BTW, the adult and embryonic breakthrough therapies are coming from abroad. If just 3 major illnesses were cured or radically limited, US would save many 100s of Billions/year – thanks for delaying progress, georgie – your legacy dies on.

    July 25, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  13. Johnny V

    We are the only civilized Western nation that still has a fully private health system. The costs are simply unsustainable for the average working family to continue managing. Something needs to change people, wake up! 47 million of our citizens are uninsured, many of those children. It's a national disgrace.

    July 25, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  14. Health Care is Needed NOW

    Blue Dog Democrats who don't like the current proposed health plan, had better come up w/some type of viable resolutions. Don't complain and block – complain and help solve. Democrats have majority and if you're not going to stay cohesive w/the party – GET OUT! We'll get rid of you at the next election.

    July 25, 2009 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  15. One and done is gonna be fun

    I'll explain Barry, you are a liar who needs to create this false boogeyman to keep the sheep dumbed down, if you want something passed you could all on your own.

    But 52 DEMOCRATS aint buying your lies either, but keep sayiing that it is the mean Republicans, we the non-sheep KNOW BETTER and your polls are going down,

    YOU had chance after chance to vote for REFORM while you were in the Senate for two weeks or so, but you voted NO each time, the few times your didn't vote present, YOU VOTED NO for REFORM,

    Was their anyone sick back then or was there a crisis?

    Nothing but a lying, one term COWARD who acts stupidly.

    July 25, 2009 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  16. Fred

    not doing a comprehensive study of what health care reform needs to be is inviting total and chaotic disaster. President Obama is much too smart to allow this to happen like a runaway train. He could be a real leader if he slows down and presents an accurate and comprehensive plan that the American public and see and understand.

    July 25, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  17. Artemisios

    The explanation is really quite simple - millions, if not billions of dollars in "campaign contributions" (aka bribes). Whether you're for the health plan or against it, the fact that our government is so corrupt as to side with the corporations that provide them money regardless of the merits of an issue should be very worrying. RIP Republic.

    July 25, 2009 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  18. JFK

    Obama is right, if you cant explain legitimately why your opposing something useful and needed, then what do we send our representatives to Washington for? To spew tired old rhetoric to argue keeping a clearly broken system? To oppose much needed change to score some short term political points?

    We need some explaining instead of cynical rhetoric that does nothing but divide us further. We need to make some meaningful change and include everyone in the process with one general goal. MAKE AMERICA BETTER!!

    July 25, 2009 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  19. Duke

    This just shows why congress should be disbanded and never be allowed back in session. I can't remember the last time congress accomplished anything that meant anything. It's not health care reform we need, its government reform. Congress time and again has proven itself unworthy of its existance.

    July 25, 2009 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  20. rainbows

    There is a grass roots movement growing stronger by the day: voters are banding together to take note of any senators or representatives that vote against public health care for children and the needy.

    Those senators congressmen on both sides of the aisle are going to be voted against in their next election bid by thousands of christian and other religious grass roots supporters–democrats, republicans, independents.

    Join us now....the day of reckoning is approaching. Amen.

    July 25, 2009 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  21. annie s

    I can explain them, Mr. President. They'd rather try to damage your Presidency and score political points with the radical right than do anything to truly help the American people. Thank you for living up to the reasons I voted for you. I am proud to have an President who truly understands what it will take for America to thrive in the 21st Century, and who isn't afraid to fight for what it right.

    July 25, 2009 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  22. OFL

    Will he get the Democrats in line? If this will be defeated it will be in the hands of the Democratic party. Democratic party 235 seats in the House versus 198 for the GOP. Democratic party 60 senators versus 40 for the GOP. The detractors are in the president's own party.

    July 25, 2009 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  23. Pfft

    I don't want a committee to get between my doctor and I and decide that I don't need care, because I don't meet some criteria that the Obamanation's nightmare crew has decided. Yes, we need reform – desperate – but we don't need it at the expense of the best health care in the world.

    July 25, 2009 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  24. Ancient Texan

    Every poll I've seen, says the American people don't want government takeover of their healthcare. 84.4% are happy with the coverage, or lack of, that they have. This boondoggle is too power grabbing and too expensive to provide coverage for a small percentage of the public. THere has to be another way.

    July 25, 2009 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  25. The bill is a loser.....

    Americans do not want it and that's why Obama's favorable ratings are now below 50%.....

    And any Congressmen or Senators that vote for it, will also be below 50%.

    July 25, 2009 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
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