September 6th, 2009
06:05 PM ET
9 years ago

Gibbs: In speech, Obama will spell out ideas for health-care bill

(CNN) - President Barack Obama will spell out his ideas for health insurance in a speech to Congress this week, his spokesman said Sunday without revealing any details.

"People will leave that speech knowing where he stands," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said on the ABC program "This Week."

Asked if Obama would veto a final bill that lacks a public insurance option favored by Democrats but fiercely opposed by Republicans, Gibbs avoided a direct answer.

"We're not going to prejudge what the process will be when we sign it, as the president expects to do this year," he said, later adding: "I doubt we're going to get into veto threats" in Wednesday's speech.

Related: Senator signals possible health care compromise

The speech is considered Obama's opportunity to re-frame the health-care debate to try to reverse increasing public concerns over Democratic proposals.

Gibbs repeated Obama's support for a public health insurance option, which has become the most contentious issue in proposed legislation so far.

"The president believes it is a valuable tool to provide choice in competition," Gibbs said.

On the same program, a Democratic congresswoman said Republicans have no intention of supporting a health-care bill and only want to use the issue to damage Obama politically.

Rep. Maxine Waters of California said Democrats must push for the bill they want because Republicans don't want any bill to pass.

"Where's your bill? What have you come up with? What are you offering as an alternative?" Waters asked Republican Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana, another guest on the show. "It's bigger than health care. It's about President Obama, and the Republicans have decided to use this by which to bring him down."

Pence denied Waters' accusation, saying Republicans seek a less comprehensive and more affordable bill than the Democratic proposals currently in the House and Senate.

Americans are concerned about Obama's policies to expand government and increase spending, Pence said, adding that the Democratic health-care proposals will bring a government takeover of health care.

Asked to explain how, he said companies that currently provide health-care coverage as a benefit for workers would choose drop that coverage and pay a fine, shifting most people to the public insurance option.

"In this economy, there's no small business or large business worth its salt that isn't going to take a hard look at sending all of their employees to the federal government for their health insurance the minute a public option is available," Pence said.

In response, former House Majority Leader Tom Daschle, a Democrat also appearing on the show, denied that a public option would have a competitive advantage to drive private insurers out of the market.

"Congressman Pence's prediction, I think, is really baseless," Daschle said.

Updated: 6:05 p.m.

soundoff (37 Responses)
  1. Kevin in Ohio

    He must either 1) abandon the Public Option, or 2) explain to me how private insurance companies won't drop me and force me in to the Public Option because of the rules established by the government. Its one or the other. Nothing less. And then, he needs to tell us why he chooses to villify the insurance industry over the trial lawyers. Its the legal, suit-happy environment created by lawyers that have driven up costs of health care, NOT the people in the insurance industry, the vast majority of which are hard-working, modestly paid individuals.

    September 6, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  2. Bruce

    If we don't fix our heathcare system now, do you really think the Republicans will help us out in the futrue? THINK AGAIN!!!!

    September 6, 2009 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  3. Wesley in the West

    It'a amazing how people think these days.....I had insurance last month. Lost it due to lay-off. It's just a matter of time when no one will have medical coverage. Do you really think the GOP will helps us out? I don't think so. We need reform NOW!

    September 6, 2009 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  4. Kylee

    Most Reppublicans admit they haven't even read th proposal regarding heathcare. Proving that they have no intention of making medical coverage a priority with them. We need to fix healthcare. NOW is the time!!

    September 6, 2009 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  5. Leslie

    It's amaxzing how the Republicans are leading the sheep to slaughter!

    September 6, 2009 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  6. ELLIE

    Republicans could care less about the American people, they want to get back to how it was when they ruled the world with corruption and fraud. Bring back George W.!!!!!

    September 6, 2009 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  7. Paul/ElPaso

    Republicans have become baseless and nonproductive.

    September 6, 2009 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  8. Susan

    What a mess the Republlican Party has become.

    September 6, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  9. Bush_Low_IQ

    GOP wants ONLY PRIVATIZATION of Health Care Which is:
    2. Fair Competition will be only if there is PUBLIC OPTION. PRIVATE SECTOR will COMPETE with GOVERNMENT SECTOR.
    3. MAFIA / GOP does not want PUBLIC OPTION. MAFIA / GOP wants all PRIVATIZATION.
    4. HEALTH Insurance in America has failed. – It must succeed now.
    8. GOP is paid BRIBES by MAFIA.

    September 6, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  10. Halls

    The GOP longs for the days of George W. and the corruption and deceit they all once enjoyed.

    September 6, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  11. Steve,Austin

    Republicans have admitted they haven't or couldn't read the last healthcare bill. Wjhat make you think that if President Obama "spells it out" for them they could possible grasp the whole idea? NOT. The GOP has become a party of nonprodutive losers.

    September 6, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  12. mandy

    This too will fall on Republican deaf ears. They're a lost cause....literally!

    September 6, 2009 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  13. John

    Compromise with the GOP and Conservative Right is an exercise in futility.

    How can you compromise and reach agreement with a group that simply wants everything you attempt to accomplish, to end in failure?

    Spell out your goals, and strong-arm Congress into getting it done.

    Let's break out some LBJ, and make things happen.

    September 6, 2009 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  14. Bj

    The first thing that OBama should do is explain to everyone appproximately how long it's going to take to overhaul the healthcare system on the scale he's been talking about. Independent studies I've read say 8-10 years. The public needs to understand this. It's not like you're going to get a healthcare card in the mail before Christmas. If done incrementally, some people may have coverage that don't today in a couple of years, but this is not somethings that's going to happen in a few months.

    September 6, 2009 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  15. Kevin B

    His speech will be based on facts and the true nature of the threat of escalating health care cost to long term fiscal future of the nation, particularly the choke hold corporate health insurance has on america future economic recovery.

    The GOP the insurance industry will rebut the presidents speech with shrill untruths and manufactered fear aided by the corporate media to keep their base in an unthinking frenzy and intimidate congressional members.

    Mr Obama and the house and senate needs to look his opponents in the eye and pass this reform on behalf of the american people.

    The nutcakes will soon get over it.

    September 6, 2009 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  16. Kevin B

    The presidents speech will be based on facts and the true nature of the threat of escalating health care cost to long term fiscal future of the nation, particularly the choke hold corporate health insurance has on america future economic recovery.

    The GOP will rebut the presidents speech with shrill untruths and bullying tactics and fear.

    Mr Obama and the democratic house and senate needs to look the republicans in the eye and pass this reform with a public option on behalf of the american people.

    Trust me; thinking americans and businesses will thank him in the long run and it will be fun to watch the republicans go into total melt down .

    September 6, 2009 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  17. Kevin in Ohio

    Interesting....all I see from the left is criticism of the Republican point-of-view, and hateful name-calling at that! They want to fix symptoms, not the cause.

    September 6, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  18. Perusing-through

    President Obama and previously Candidate Obama have been preaching his ideas for health insurance coverage for the past 19-months. Come on people, this is not rocket science. When you idiots out their start learning to read and start learning to separate the facts from the lying garbage put out by Limbaugh, Hannity, and FAUX News; then this health reform can move forward.

    September 6, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  19. GI Joe

    Tort reform was put in place in many states and it helped the doctors with their insurance rates.

    It did NOT lower insurance rates for citizens, and it did not provide more health care for them. In fact, Insurance companies made more in profits.

    Grow a brain.

    September 6, 2009 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  20. Sro

    HR 3200 will be the ruin of us all if it passes. In defending the public option recently the President used the analogy of how FedEx and UPS compete very well against the government run US post office which is doing very poorly. I think he was trying to say that the government run option would not be a threat to the private insurers. However if the President's analogy is correct, government run health care will work no better than the government run post office.

    September 6, 2009 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  21. eolufemi

    Good job Rep. Waters.

    The republicans and their apologists are disgusting.

    They don't want to enroll in a public insurance plan, so they are going to deny others the ability to do so.

    What a bunch of selfish fools.

    They are lying about the costs by acting as though that money wouldn't be spent anyway just maintaining the status quo.

    I honestly have no idea what the president can do to force legislators within his party to do their jobs and legislate.

    I feel like the President has done his part, but everybody else is just wasting time on the clock cackling about nothing...

    September 6, 2009 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  22. Denna

    President Obama must go ahead with his health care plan, which should include a public option with a rider that would prevent corporations from dumping their employees into the public plan. I just love it when I see geezers, who are sucking up medicare, howl against the public plan. I just love it when I see younger people howl against health care as being socialism. I say why not dump grandma and grandpa off of the public dole and let their kids take care of them. THEN I'll be you'll make these myoptic people pay some real attention.

    September 6, 2009 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  23. Matt

    I don't see how as progressives we can support any of the dems bills! Even if they have the public option, none of them would take effect until 2013. If you truly are for "Healthcare Reform NOW" then you cannot support these bills. Call your senators and congressmen and demand that the whatever heathcare reform is finally passed, it must take effect immediately!! Why aren't the news media pointing this out? How many more thousands of people are going to lose their insurance while we're waiting for true reform? In 2012 we may very well end up with the repubs in charge of the congress and senate and they will simply reverse the public option since it will not have been implemented!!! Our problem is not with the repubs, they have no power!! Our problem is with the lying dems, who are telling us one thing and legislating something completely different...and I include our timid president in that group as well.

    September 6, 2009 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  24. Dan, TX

    The Republicans are right MEDICARE must go! No public options on health care for anyone!

    September 6, 2009 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  25. Mahmoud El-Darwish

    As I've stated before. It's unfortunate but needful that the White House is taking charge so as to prevent a stalemate on the subject of passing a Health Care Reform bill. I sincerely hope that there's enough pressure on private insurance companies in the President's speech to force them into self-reformation. If not, at least he should spell out the probable outcomes of his plan, versus maintaining the status quo.

    September 6, 2009 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
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