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. VGal

    Rush it through? Are they serious? This country has been working on health care reform since Clinton was in office. Republicans are continually forgetful and shortsighted.

    I'm not for or against one side or the other. What I do agree with Obama on is THERE IS EVERY REASON TO BELIEVE that the congress should be able to pass something in the near future. They've had FAR TOO LONG to debate and consider on this. The time to act is now – so ACT. 10 years of debating is ENOUGH. GEEZE – and the congress wonders why they are called the DO NOTHING congress????

    July 18, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  2. Mark

    These are not scare tactics. They are the truth. Sorry Obama, but your not going to be able to push ALL your crazy, liberal notions down our throats.

    July 18, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  3. Scott, Tucson

    Obama: 1. Congress must 'seize this opportunity'
    2. He would not sign any bill that increased the deficit. This is nothing but another attempt to seize money from our wallets and Obama's own GAO reported it will not reduce the cost of health care but raise it.

    And why is congress exempt from this health care plan if it's so great for the rest of us? They should be the first to change over to the new plan if it does survive and Obama signs it into law.

    July 18, 2009 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  4. Maverick

    Keep the pressure on them Mr.President! They are stalling! Health Care Refom must happen!

    July 18, 2009 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  5. Murf

    Look, I don't buy the argument that something as important as this shouldn't be rushed through the House and Senate. The goal of ensuring that all Americans have access to affordable healthcare and that those living in poverty are also given quality care, has been bandied about for the last 25 years. Surely the repubs remember that this was THE issue taken up by Hillary during the Clinton years. You also chose to ignore the problem during the 8 GWB years, so please step aside as you are part of the problem, not part of the solution.


    July 18, 2009 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  6. Lauren

    Health care for all is a noble idea. Just like mortgages for people who couldn't afford them was a noble idea, and we all know where that got us. The point is, nobody really knows what this plan will cost, but coming on top of the climate change tax and the stimulus, it's not economically feasible. A government that has bankrupted Social Security and Medicare doesn't have much credibility in saying what it can and cannot afford.

    July 18, 2009 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  7. bob

    Obama is always in a hurry to get things passed. He doesn't want people to have time to think about what they're doing. Was he a used car salsman in his last life?

    July 18, 2009 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  8. chubby

    It is not just Republicans fighting against obamas health plan but at least 52 democrats as well. It has gotten to the point where obama is taking out television ads against Democrats who oppose his monster cost health plan. Just another case of obama wanting to pass spending without anyone seeing/reading the plan.

    July 18, 2009 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  9. embrace change

    Yes please – lets push the healthcare reform through. Insurance company's are making a fortune out of refusing healthcare to those that need it when they need it. I am tired of an HMO standing between me and my doctor. I'd much rather have government = that don't stand to make a profit out of my ill health decide on my medical treatment. These healthcare insurance companies are so afraid of the change that is going to happen so they are trying to scare the american public – ENOUGH ALREADY!!

    July 18, 2009 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  10. RM

    Ever since Barack Obama has been overwhelmingly elected as our 44th President, high ranking members of the Republican Party have done nothing but criticize his every move or word. It does appear as thou they would wish for this country's failure in everyway so as to have him impeached. They have not given him any support since he's been duly elected President as the Democrats gave George W Bush i.e. Iraq war Waste of blood and Treasure. Any American that truly believes in this country and what it stands for should let him lead albeit with constructive criticism. The constant attacks by GOP Senators, Congressmen and the GOP attack machine like Rush and Hannity is just a distraction from the work that our President needs to do and the support he needs to do it. Thank GOD there are still good people in this country and so he and we will succeed.

    July 18, 2009 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  11. Obama is a Disaster

    Obama and the Democrat party will ruin America's health care system.

    July 18, 2009 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  12. Shane

    Sure the Republicans do not want health care reform, because they stand to lose a lot of money from the Billion dollar companies that back them. If the people had affordible insurance coverage to choose from, big companies would have to lower their prices to compete, thus making it easy for everyone to have coverage. It's Capitolism at its best. Somebody makes coverage cheaper and everyone has to follow suit to compete.

    July 18, 2009 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  13. John in AZ

    Finally! The message from Democrats that all the objections amount to scare tactics needs to be amplified. That is exactly what they are. Look, it's no secret that Democrats wanted (emphasis on the past tense) a single payer system, but the compromise was just having a public option within our larger private system...now Republicans don't even want that. There's just no compromising with the obstinate sometimes.

    July 18, 2009 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  14. Norm

    Definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different outcome. The insurance companies take billions of dollars of profit out of the healthcare equation every year and are working vary hard now lobbying/pulling the strings of their bought and paid for puppets to protect these monies. I vote for change/change now. Those opposing this plan talk about not rushing, they have been taliking about healthcare.and its problems for years, what they/re really saying is lets slow this proceess down to the point where it loses momentum and we preserve the status quo.

    July 18, 2009 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  15. PeterJ

    Obama is the ULTIMATE fear-mongerer. He plays this class envy "hate anyone who makes money" game and if he can't find anything to bash on a GOPer, he will just publicly make the claim that they are trying to "profit" by opposing him. Liberals...shouldn't that be a clue to you, everytime anyone opposes him, he immediately leads you to believe that they are rich people because he has engrained in you a hatred for success.

    July 18, 2009 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  16. Kimberly

    hes right, the gop is nothing more than a group of men that are getting rich from special interest groups, bible thumpers, and people that BELIEVE the crap chain emails they get. I get them all the time, I just research them for about 5 mins, prove them to be crap and then pass on the facts. The gop is a joke, no one is listening to them Anymore

    July 18, 2009 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  17. Penny

    You know its going to be bad when its rushed like this...look at the rushed stimulus plan...

    There is NOTHING wrong with our healthcare system. Obama if you want to fix something start with Medicare or the VA first. When you fix those boondoggles then try another government program.

    July 18, 2009 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  18. John

    This health package is a disaster. This President, who never I mean never worked in the real world has no clue as to what he's doing. This would put the small business owner either out of business or laying off more employees. Do you want the Government running anything? They can't manage themselves, Look at Social Security and Medicaide. Wake up folks.

    July 18, 2009 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  19. Crossbuck

    The healthcare bill will work, if and only if no one gets sick and no one grows old.

    In other words, it cannot beneficial to anyone, just very very costly.
    Besides, does the goverment ever execute anything right?

    July 18, 2009 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  20. Bob Charon

    The republicans are the problem not part of the solution. They have opposed any Progressive movement for the past 35 years and are deep in the pockets of the coprorate elites. It is time for Congress to perform their responsibility and consider the needs of the country. Many businesses and familiies have failed because of health care costs. It is time for a major change and defeating more republicans may be the answer.

    July 18, 2009 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  21. Nancy - Houston

    What I want to know is if everyone is going to be "required" to buy medical insurance, how are the 14.5 million (and growing) laid-off people going to do that? Unemployment compensation sure won't cover it, and anyway, some states are running out of money to pay umemployment benefits. I'm all for curtailing health care costs, but agonize over the situation the unemployed have been put in due to job loss. If folks don't have a family to take them in, what then? It seems to me the creation of jobs is #1 in importance. If so many people are out of work, think of the loss of taxes that would normally be paid to support government programs. I am a retired mother with two unemployed sons, and I am all they have. It is very worrisome because my retirement dollars can stretch only so far.

    July 18, 2009 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  22. Ursula

    I hope Obama brings the whole spectrum of nasty rightwingers to their knees. Its about time. They rule by fear and have been getting away with it for way too long. Mainstreet republicans are no different. They operate their businesses through fear mongering and personally, I'm sick of them! Really now.... I'm not a liberal, I'm pretty much middle of the road, but enough is enough. After all that has been done to me over the last several years, I WILL NEVER EVER EVER VOTE FOR A REPUBLICAN!

    July 18, 2009 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  23. Bruce, Idaho

    Hurry! Hurry! Hurry! It can't wait! we are all going to die tomorrow if we don't pass this IMMEDIATELY!!!!!!
    WHO is using scare tactics?
    I think the real reason is the polls show "the savior" Obama is quickly losing support for his communist/socialist agenda. The more the people know, the less chance this abomination will be passed. So...... HURRY!

    July 18, 2009 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  24. peter

    the health care reform should pass by this summer! Republican should support the the reform rather to resist.

    July 18, 2009 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  25. Geodin

    Get it done, it is enough time for smart and knowledgeable people to put together something that is very good. It is a slippery slope to try to get it "right".

    Get it in the books, and there will be plenty of time before most if anything will actually get implemented to allow them to amend/adjust the plan.

    July 18, 2009 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
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