March 20th, 2010
02:03 PM ET
8 years ago

In unusual step, Obama heads to the hill Saturday


President Obama heads to Capitol Hill Saturday in a final push before the House votes on the latest version of the health care bill. (Getty Images)

Washington (CNN) - President Obama plans to address the House Democratic caucus Saturday to make a final plea for the health care overhaul, a day ahead of an expected House vote.

Four Democratic officials familiar with the plans told CNN on Friday that the president will speak Saturday to the lawmakers. The pitch will be made on Capitol Hill, White House aides said. No further details were immediately available.

The House of Representatives is set to vote Sunday on a sweeping $875 billion reform plan that cleared the Senate in December, as well as another $65 billion in compromise changes to the measure.

If the Senate bill passes the House, Obama will sign it into law. If the package of changes is passed, it will be taken up by the Senate.

Democratic leaders are trying to round up the 216 necessary votes to pass the bill. According to CNN's latest count, 29 Democrats plan to vote against the legislation. Thirty-eight Democratic "no" votes are needed to kill the bill.

Multiple Democratic leadership sources told CNN that Democrats have over 200 "yes" votes, though it was not clear Friday night how close Democrats were to securing the votes they need.

Filed under: Health care • President Obama
soundoff (254 Responses)
  1. Sheryl Jackson

    No Robin, you are probably on Medicaid and food stamps and want to make sure you get a free ride.

    March 20, 2010 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  2. kitty mccombs

    Iam as enthusiatic about this president as I was the day he was elected. He is the hardist working president in recent history. All his efforts are for the American people,not the big rich corporations.After eight years of republican rule its time forthe working people to have the goverment take care of the problems that effect our lives. Heath care refore. The key word is reform, The big insurence companies

    March 20, 2010 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  3. Vic of New York

    Hey "George" (of the Republican jungle?). You probably didn't vote for Obama, but I did. And everyone else who voted for him knew the #1 agenda was healthcare.

    Guess what? HE WON! That means the majority of Americans DO WANT HEALTHCARE.

    Seems like you and your friends are in the Minority. LIVE WITH IT.

    March 20, 2010 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  4. Bradley

    This is a no win situation for the Democrats. If the bill fails, its toast for Obama and the party. Due to the lack of effective content, its cost, the Chicago type deals , having just as many citizens against it, etc..., the passage of the bill will result in major mid-term Democratic losses. At this point the Obama administration is just trying to pass "something" to show they can govern. They should be focusing on growing jobs were more people can take care of themselves.

    March 20, 2010 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  5. Republicans are Repugnant Taliban

    I think it is the job of the President to see those situations that are for the best for American citizens and then to work to hold the feet of lawmakers to the flames to see that they hold true to working for the people rather than working for reelection. This is what the job of the President is, he is the top Administrator, as such his job is to administrate to see that governement works efficiently and for the people. Those who stand against this reform are just listening to the talking points of the Corporate right who lack all compassion for the public and only work for their bottom line no matter how many idividuals may be harmed as a result, case in point the recent financial collapse, they made it through, the rest of us, the common citizen is left suffering. Those who stand against this measure stand against themselves unless they make over $500,000 a year and we all know that there are not too many of those around. Why people who are poor or just middle class would ever stand against something that is for thier benefit is beyond me, it is like shooting yourself in the foot. The only reason I can offer is total ignorance and failure to really check out and understand what is going on, the division that politics has made in the voting public leads to this problem. Instead of thinking and checking in facts people run with what they are told by those they vote for and in the end they go against themselves because the people they are voting for are having thier campaigns paid for by these same corporations who could care less about the common public.

    March 20, 2010 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  6. Ed from Rural Colorado

    Wow, if the Democrats actually get this passed I may have to stop calling them wimps.

    I am an independent who knows we need health care reform – too bad the Republicans decided to turn this important need of the American people into pure politics – if this had been bipartisan then it may have been better but it is what it is and that is a good start IMNSHO.

    March 20, 2010 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  7. Rev. m

    Since when is letting people die for lack of care, a Christian concept?
    For all those who define this as a Christian nation, think again. Maybe we who call ourselves Christians are only "social club" Christians, Christians in name only.
    And when we draw our last breath, will we be the ones who cry, "Lord, Lord.." and he answers, "I never knew you."
    From Genesis to the Revelation of John, we are instructed to care for sick, the stranger, the foreigner who lives among us...
    My perception is a lot of people don't have a clue what God's Word says about how to treat others.
    Religious beliefs aside, we all pay for the health care of everyone now anyway. Just ask doctors and hospitals.
    My spouse runs a small business. Insurance companies are making a fortune. Just read the newspapers.
    Insurance companies already decide our health care based on cost and age and their bottom line most of all.
    With 4 doctors in the family who all will be paying higher taxes, they all are in favor of this health care plan.

    March 20, 2010 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  8. Mark

    That's right, Obama, go talk to your other liberal friends and go against the will of the poeople.

    Do as much damage as you can, cause you and your fellow dems are going to get trounced in the elections.

    March 20, 2010 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  9. Kent

    Let’s agree in unison, or agree to disagree. One thing that is certain—the nation’s Health Care System desperately needed resuscitation. This partisan standoff has gone on long enough. Obama has presented a plan that far surpasses the effort of previous administrations. Once the votes have been tallied on this bill, it’ll be time to move on to even greater national concerns that affect us—one and all.

    March 20, 2010 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  10. foolindeed1

    Japan has the longest healthy life expectancy on Earth and spends half as much on health care (in percent of GDP) as the United States. Japan has universal health care system. Everyone in Japan is required to get a health insurance policy, either at work or through a community-based insurer. The government picks up the tab for those who are too poor.
    It's a model of social insurance that is used in many wealthy countries. But it's definitely not "socialized medicine." Eighty percent of Japan's hospitals are privately owned — more than in the United States — and almost every doctor's office is a private business. The Japanese go to the doctor about three times as often as Americans. Because there are no gatekeepers, they can see any specialist they want. Japanese patients also stay in the hospital much longer than Americans, on average. They love technology such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI); they have nearly twice as many scans per capita as Americans do.
    The Japanese Health Ministry tightly controls the price of health care down to the smallest detail. Every two years, the health care industry and the health ministry negotiate a fixed price for every procedure and every drug. That helps keep premiums to around $280 a month for the average Japanese family, and Japan's employers pick up at least half of that.
    If you lose your job, you keep your health insurance.
    Japanese insurers are a lot more accommodating than their American counterparts. For one thing, they can't deny a claim. And they have to cover everybody. Even an applicant with heart disease can't be turned down, that is forbidden.
    Nor do health care plans covering basic health care for workers and their families make a profit.
    Anything left over is carried over to the next year. If the carryover was big, then the premium rate would go down.
    No one in Japan goes broke because of medical expenses.
    Personal bankruptcy due to medical expenses is unheard of in Japan.

    March 20, 2010 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  11. JOE

    I hope Dick Cheney invited him to go hunting with him ...What a great day that would be.

    March 20, 2010 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  12. LoneWolf777

    50 years from now the people and politicians who fought against this bill will look as sad and ridiculous as those who fought against the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

    March 20, 2010 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  13. Patriot

    We're going to do it!! So happy, not for me, I don't need it, but for the least of us. It's how we treat the least among us that defines us as a nation. Go Dems!!!!!

    March 20, 2010 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  14. Julia

    i am 23 years old without insurance. i am also a dual citizen. if i broke my leg today it would be worth my while to endure the plane by a plane ticket and hop to europe. they say there is no price on your health - well there is and fat cats like our dear republicans put it there. shame on them. shame on their scare tactics distortion of facts and out right lies. most people want this, most people need this. god bless obama.

    March 20, 2010 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  15. Keith in Austin

    @ George:

    Based on your spelling and abuse of the Queen's English, it's easy to understand your wanton desire for free Government Healthcare.

    The vast majority of Americans are getting sick and tired of paying for entitlements so that LOSERS like YOU get another free ride. One thing is definately true though, I'm sure you're a life-long Democrat right? Enough said!

    March 20, 2010 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  16. Abraham

    If/when this bill passes it will be a great triumph for our country. All the scaremongering, all the special interests will have been overcome. Those against reform, warning of government takeover and going bankrupt obviously haven't read the bill and have no clue about economics. I am tired of the pathetic repetition of Fox's talking heads. The democrats have finally stood up to the bullying and obstruction of the Republicans who want nothing to change. Sunday will be historic, a positive turning point for this nation.

    March 20, 2010 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  17. D.

    Do not turn my house into a "slaughter house"!!!!!!!

    March 20, 2010 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  18. Keith in Austin

    Sorry George, my earlier post is directed at ROBIN. My bad!

    March 20, 2010 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  19. Cindy

    Thanks for being on the job this weekend, Mr. President. You made the right decision to postpone your trip abroad.

    March 20, 2010 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  20. Tammy

    May none of you ever go through the experience of terrible illness in the family and no insurance (pre-existing condition). Heartless, cruel, inhumane insurance companies. Hey, they're covered, so is Congress, the hell with the rest of us.

    March 20, 2010 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  21. Keith

    The absurd idea that 50% of the people in this country DON'T want this bill is just more Republican propaganda. There is NO evidence that half of the Unites States of America disapproves of this bill. PROPAGANDA. If you say it enough, you think people will believe it. That same strategy FAILED you in the 2008 elections. It appears more like 65% of the country voted for change and the REPUBLICAN battlecry has basically been CHANGE OVER OUR DEAD BODIES. You have been in the way trying to protect corporations too long and now that's about to change and it is, in fact, CHANGE I CAN BELIEVE IN.

    March 20, 2010 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  22. annie against biased news

    Why? So he can tell more lies and issue more threats and promise more bribes?

    March 20, 2010 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  23. Mike

    After 8 years of republicans forcing unnecessary wars, tax cuts for rich and 'justifiable' torture upon us, it's nice to see the government finally working for the middle class and not against it.

    Of course the republicans do not want health care reform to pass. They are horribly afraid of all the good it will do. Republicans want to see the government fail so they don't have to pay for it. Bush did an excellent job as a failure so of course people are scared of government.

    I still strongly believe that Obama is our best leader in a long time, and once our country has turned around in the next coming years, he will win the 2012 election in a landslide.

    March 20, 2010 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  24. Judi

    Please people listen up, and let the President help us!!!!! Don't let the insurance companies raise our rates. Last month my medical insurance went from $378.00 to $479.00... When I called and asked it was because they can! No reason! Do you want your premiums to go up each year or month?? You may be happy now if you have coverage, but when you retire or God forbid you are disabled where is your money coming from for your medical bills???? Think ahead everyone!!! I just posted a blogg like this and it was blocked??? umm... makes me wonder if I have a voice on this issue. The congress has healthcare remember that, wouldn't you like to see that same coverage???? If the congress had to go a week without medical you would see how fast a sweet bill would be on the Presdient's desk yesterday!! I know everyone needs coverage, we all do, and no one minds paying a little, but don't let the insurance companies make millions on you and me!!!! They sit back and laugh because companies like Blue Cross Blue Shield, and United health are making money on us!! I am happy to see the President help US the People!! Let's help him with our support and push this through! With your comments and letters to the congress, The President, your State leader, etc,,,,, as I have done it can work! God forbid you get ill if you have coverage through your employer?? It will last just so long then they will say to you as they did me, your on your own???? So you choose,, a roof over your head or medical????? Think about this just for a moment please,,, "If congress had to wait for a bill to pass before they got medical insurance, trust me there would be a sweet bill on the president's desk yesterday!!!!!" I would love the healthcare coverage they have, but I can't afford it. I have worked since I was 16 and now 56!! I need that coverage as so do many others. So please think not only about now, but the future of your own illness or when you retire! Do you think a 401k will help you or your savings for medical bills if nothing is done ?? Think again. I watched MSNBC last night and Keith Oberman just went through a very trying time with his Dad's illness, ( He passed away, so sorry) it was sad as he saw first hand how costly it is!! How you will be treated if you have no medical insurance.. Let's not keep making mistakes by not doing anything, The President is trying to help the people!! US!!!!!!!!!!!!! Let's ban together on this one pLease for our own sake and our future and others.
    I do have one comment in passing, the only thing I hate more than anything is seeing a murder in jail that has healthcare!! I have worked over 40 years, I deserved and paid into the system as most of us have( and I hate to see them get coverage) but put that aside and. Lets move forward and help the President tweak what he needs to later, but right sure HEALTH CARE GETS PASSED,,AS, IT WILL BE OK IF YOU HAVE A PRE-EXISTING CONDITION, IF PASSED THE INSURANCE COMPANIES CAN'T JUST DROP YOU OR INCREASE YOUR PREMIUMS AT WILL!! NO HUGE DEDUCTIBLES!! CHILDREN WILL BE COVERED, A COLLEGE STUDENT WILL BE UNDER PARENTS PLAN UNTIL 26 NOW!! ETC... The only thing I worry about is,,, I WISH THERE WAS A PUBLIC OPTION, WHICH EQUALS TO ME FAIR" because without it, there will be so many insurance companies offering you something that we will have to read the verey fine print!!
    Thank you for listening,,, LET'S GET THIS PASSED TOMORROW!! PLEASE!!!
    Judi Emmett

    March 20, 2010 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  25. Yes We Can!!

    George: Just because congress isn't working for the 50% of this country who want to kill this bill doesn't mean they aren't doing their jobs! Also, you have apparantly forgotten the OTHER 50% of this country who want this bill passed!! Go Obama! Show them how you get things done in D.C.!

    March 20, 2010 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
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