Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama will release his final version of a health care reform bill Wednesday, arguing that it is a compromise plan that combines the best ideas of both Democrats and Republicans.
The president, according to excerpts of remarks released by the White House, will claim that the sweeping package "has been debated and changed and I believe improved over the last year."
He will also argue that a failure to pass a health care plan will raise questions about Washington's ability to effectively govern.
"At stake right now is not just our ability to solve this problem, but our ability to solve any problem," he says in the excerpts. "The American people want to know if it's still possible for Washington to look out for their interests and their future. They are waiting for us to act."
He will argue, according to the excerpts, that he doesn't "know how this plays politically," but knows that "it's right."
He will conclude his remarks by urging Congress to "finish its work," send a bill to his desk, and end what has become a vitriolic legislative showdown over his top domestic priority
Top Republicans have repeatedly said Obama's proposal is not good enough and reiterated calls for the president to scrap his nearly $1 trillion plan and start over.
Multiple Democratic sources have told CNN that the emerging consensus plan is for the House of Representatives to pass the Senate bill and send it to Obama. A package of changes that mirror the president's plan would then be passed through both chambers under reconciliation rules, which require only 51 votes in the Senate.
Democrats lost their 60-vote, filibuster-proof Senate majority in January, when GOP Sen. Scott Brown won the Massachusetts Senate seat previously held by the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, a Democrat.
Observers note, however, that it remains unclear exactly which health care provisions can be approved under reconciliation, which is reserved for legislation pertaining to the budget. Republicans have angrily criticized the Democrats' potential use of reconciliation, arguing that the maneuver was never intended to be used for major policy overhauls along the lines of the health care bill.
Democrats should "think twice" about using reconciliation, New Hampshire GOP Sen. Judd Gregg warned Tuesday.
Obama extended a final bipartisan olive branch to GOP leaders on Tuesday, stating in a letter that he is willing to consider several of their ideas in a compromise plan.
Specifically, the president said he may be willing to:
- commit $50 million to fund state initiatives designed to reduce medical malpractice costs;
- allow undercover investigations of health care providers receiving Medicare, Medicaid, and other federal programs;
- boost Medicaid reimbursements to doctors in certain states; and
- include language in the final bill ensuring certain high-deductible health plans can be offered in the health exchange.
The president said his decision to consider the GOP ideas was a result of last week's health care summit. GOP leaders, however, were unsatisfied with Obama's concessions. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, said the president's compromise ideas were little more than a few items "inadequately addressed in a 2,700-page bill."