July 18th, 2009
01:07 PM ET
12 years ago

White House, GOP face off on health care as deadline looms

WASHINGTON (CNN) - With the White House deadline for congressional passage of his health care agenda just weeks away, President Obama and the GOP faced off on the issue Saturday.

High-profile White House events this week made the hard sell for the plan currently being considered by Congress. On Friday, a bipartisan group of half a dozen senators asked the president to slow the pace, and relax the summer timeline he’s given Congress to act.

In his radio and Web address broadcast Saturday - titled "Health Care Reform Cannot Wait" - Obama resisted that effort, and shot back at critics of his plan.

“We know the same special interests and their agents in Congress will make the same old arguments, and use the same scare tactics that have stopped reform before because they profit from this relentless escalation in health care costs,” said the president. “And I know that once you’ve seen enough ads and heard enough people yelling on TV, you might begin to wonder whether there’s a grain of truth to what they’re saying. So let me take a moment to answer a few of their arguments.”

He argued that, despite what his critics said, he would not sign any bill that increased the deficit, that his plan would not result in government control over anyone’s health care or insurance choices, and that there would be no rationing of medical care.

Republicans were equally firm Saturday, saying they are going to fight the proposal and push for a cheaper bill – and called for Democrats to put the brakes on the move for summer passage.

"They propose to pay for this new Washington-run health care system by dramatically raising taxes on small business owners," Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl said in the Republican Web and radio address broadcast Saturday. "With a shaky economy and the need for new jobs, the last thing the president and the Congress should do is impose new taxes on America's small businesses."

“…the President and some Democrats insist we must rush this plan through. Why? Because the more Americans know about it, the more they oppose it. Something this important needs to be done right, rather than done quickly.”

Other elements of the president’s agenda, like the stimulus package and the energy bill, have passed with minimal or non-existent GOP support. And Democrats have since gained a 60th vote in the Senate, the number required to stave off a filibuster.

But it remains an open question whether the party can hold on to the support of enough of its own members to pass the president’s vision for a major overhaul of the nation’s health care system. Moderate Republicans and conservative Democrats have found themselves in the crosshairs, facing political pressure from both sides of the debate, along with millions of dollars of targeted ads.

Filed under: Health care • Jon Kyl • President Obama
soundoff (139 Responses)
  1. Stuart

    Obama is a spoiled black child of entitlement thinking. If he faces disagreement he attacks others as victimizers. He has poor understanding of proper decision-making processes and would rather keep fixing an inadequate plan than formulate a correct one. He is a product of his racial/cultural mindset and cannot free himself from its constraints. He is a person of no imagination outside of his radical, immature, and Muslim exposure. What a sad excuse for a president.

    July 18, 2009 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  2. joelweymouth

    The vast majority of Americans are happy with their health care, that is the significant statistic. So we are going to let a minority overthrow the majority once again. The liberals believe in Democracy, when it suits them. The other times they throw it out and become oligarchs. As far as Obama is concerned, he is an empty suit controlled by rich white men and his junta is fulfilling every prediction that was made about what kind of disaster he would be. Unfortunately, the MSM is not going to go back into the debates and the archives and show this. The MSM seems to be afraid of him (or the people behind him), they would have done this with GWB because they really were not afraid of him. This tells me where the real dictatorship is. This will end badly.

    July 18, 2009 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  3. SHL, TX

    I am a physician trained and worked in the socialized healthcare system in the United Kingdom for 15 years before moving to the country 10 years ago. Going to the government-controlled medicine route is a step backward in healthcare. Rationing will be inevitable. Just look at the government-run Medicare and Medicaid and also the VA system in this country. Patients are falling between the cracks and treatments, sometimes for life-threatening conditions, are delayed in these groups of patients. Medicare and Medicaid set up rules on how patients should be treated and what Medicare/Medicaid will pay without the allowance for exceptions. When there are patients who has other co-existing medical conditions have to be treated differently, we the physicians cannot reason with Medicare and Medicaid since when you call the office, you either get an answering machine or speak to someone non-medical who just refer you to the Medicare/Medicaid rules. This is unlike private medicine where the physician can discuss the individual case with the Medical Director of the Insurance Company. No Obama!!!!

    July 18, 2009 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  4. Skyview

    I agree with the President that the only oppositon to health care reform is the special interests who profit from people getting sick. The President is trying to create a situation where all americans will have affordable healthcare without facing financial ruin on a daily basis, as it is with the present system. This is the first President who truly does buck against special interests that take advantage of the public interest. We should help the President get this issues resolved in favour of the American People.

    July 18, 2009 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  5. dan

    Thispresidident spends trillions of dollars that doesnt work and he says their using scare tactics. Heck yea im scared. The goverment cant run anything efficently why would we trust him with health care.

    July 18, 2009 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  6. Bill

    So now the Congressional Budget Office is a "special interest"? I'll believe the CBO before I believe Obama. The CBO doesn't have a dog in this fight.

    The "scare tactic" is when someone is trying to force Congress to act too quickly on something that could create such havoc. Not only with the purpose of the health industry, but the economic factors as well because the CBO says it's not going to save the federal government money.

    And the costs just go up and up and up.

    How do we know he doesn't want to ram another piece of legislation through as quickly as possible while "misreading" the entire issue?

    July 18, 2009 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  7. GI Joe

    TV ads for Ins. and Pharmaceuticals UP
    Ins. Premiums UP
    Co-Pays UP
    Drug Costs UP

    Donations to PACS UP
    Numbe of Lobbyists UP

    Add your own thoughts.

    July 18, 2009 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  8. Eric

    Republican definition of "Americans": (1) rich people or (2) suckers who will believe what rich people tell them.

    July 18, 2009 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  9. Patrick

    Fear paranoia.... thats what the republicans do best. If we could get the lobbyists and their lackeys away and get some intelligent people who know the issues at hand maybe this issue would be solved once and for all.

    July 18, 2009 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  10. S Callahan

    President Obama, with all due respect to your good intents to offer the poor, middle class affordable health care.....my question is...can you guarantee that it does not include a mandate for abortion care? Should it, you know yourself, that God can not give his support to that..and could explain a big portion of the dissention going on right now. Review, Review, Review. Don't let that slip in.

    July 18, 2009 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  11. sk

    It's not just the GOP who is slamming it, it's also some Democrats and most of all a good amount of Americans. Quit blaming the GOP for every single thing.

    July 18, 2009 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  12. joe cassidy

    “We know the same special interests and their agents in Congress will make the same old arguments, and use the same scare tactics that have stopped reform before because they profit from this relentless escalation in health care costs,” said the president"

    Mr.President,, you must be talking about your own party when referring to " profit" One only has to look deeply into the money made by Gore, Pelosi, Boxer, Franks, Dodd and so many more of your
    " Party"

    Please start speaking the truth,, we as Americans deserve it and you owe us that simple request..... But than again , when you have Rham<<< as your chief of staff,,, the truth will never be part of your leadership fabric... What a shame for for you and what a shame for the "People"

    July 18, 2009 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  13. Jack Masaniai

    i strongly agree with President Obama's long over due Health Care Plan Reform . " Quote – " We can't always make the WRONG choices in life , ~ just because we haven't always made the RIGHT choices in life ". Respectfully...

    July 18, 2009 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  14. Dan Klemann

    For the last 8 years everything the republicans say sounds like the end of the world. We will become socialist if our government provides help for health care. You know it is awful the government wants to pay money (which can used for war) to keep our citizens in good health. And I think our current administration wants to spend money to upgrade the infrastructure of the United States. Oh my god we can't do that, why it may costs billions. We can't have our children pay taxes in their future to pay for something like this. The republicans are very old school. They still want to take our tax dollars and spend it on propping up bad dictators in foreign countries. Find places to have a war so our tax dollars can pay for the military industry weapons. Waste the weapons on stupid wars so we can build more. I say stop wasting our tax dollars on foreign countries and spend it on the US Citizens and our country. Pass the health care bill now. We can't wait any longer.

    July 18, 2009 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
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