July 19th, 2009
10:27 AM ET
11 years ago

'None of this is easy,' Obama aide says of health care reform

WASHINGTON (CNN) – A senior aide to President Obama said Sunday that the president’s ambitious goal of having a health care reform bill done by Congress’ August recess remains on track despite some recent indications that Congress may not be able to get the legislation done within Obama’s timeframe.

“None of this is easy,” Obama Budget Director Peter Orszag said Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union, “there’s a reason why this hasn’t happened in 50 years and we’re making a lot of progress.”

Orszag reiterated the president’s commitment to sign a health care reform bill only if it is deficit-neutral over the first ten years after passage and Orszag acknowledged that “in the short run, some additional revenue is going to be required” to meet that condition.

Orszag revealed Sunday the White House has proposed to Congressional leaders legislative text relating to an independent commission of doctors. That panel, the administration believes, would help make the policymaking process more flexible by ultimately leading to lower health care costs and higher quality over time.

Orszag also told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King that getting the legislation done by August remains the White House’s “goal.”

“We think we can make that. We’re working towards that,” Orszag said. “There are some who are advocating delay simply because they don’t have anything to put on the table,” the Obama aide added.

Orszag rejected the suggestion that the president is taking a too hands-off approach to moving the legislation forward.

“People are reacting too much to the ebb and flow of what’s happening on a day-to-day basis,” Orszag told King. “It’s complicated. The legislative process is working. I think people are sort of reaching judgment about who is going to win the marathon based on who is ahead at, like, mile 19. Not a good way of judging things. We’re making a lot of progress.”

soundoff (58 Responses)
  1. Alice Newman

    If fixing health care was easy – it would have been done years ago: democracy is debate and discussion – rather than Tom "the Hammer" Delay just pounding republicans into submission.

    The GOP had 8 years: no leadership – no suggestions – just business as usual. You had your opportunity: now let someone else try.

    July 19, 2009 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  2. VON BISMARK,Vienna.

    It's easier to spend money on an unnecessary war in Iraq. Good luck!

    July 19, 2009 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  3. Ray

    I have no idea why Obama or the Democrats think they need to do something about Health Care. Lyndon Johnosn was wrong to start this Pie in the Sky Program and Obama is wrong to extend it. Social Medicine needs to be returned to the States where they can keep the program, modify it, or dump it.

    For those that want to keep it, I hope you have the money to pay for it, if you still have a job. Because it is you, ultmantly that is going to pay for it, one way or the other.

    July 19, 2009 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  4. CL OT

    Why is Obama rushing this? If healthcare reform is so important let’s make sure that we have the best plan possible. He doesn't seem to want what’s best for the country, but what’s best for him politically. He knows that his approval rating is dropping like a bolder and once people figure out what a mess his other legislation has put us in support will dry up.

    July 19, 2009 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  5. Neilz

    The problem Obama and Congress keep running into is how to "reform" healthcare while keeping it as profitable (or more so) to the insurance companies and healthcare providers. None of the current plans adequately addresses the issue of access for 40 million Americans currently without insurance. Because it simply cannot be done without affecting the profits of insurance companies and healthcare providers. Like the folks out of work and the folks losing their homes, the millions of uninsured and poor will just have to wait until the insurance companies and healthcare providers make enough money to line the pockets of politicians AND afford that new limo or private plane.

    July 19, 2009 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  6. Say NO to Universl Health care

    I am so disappointed in this President. He ran on lies, half truths and propaganda. In less then six months he placed this counrty in a financial hole, tht it wil be years, if ever we can get out of it. Jobs are beinglost, companies are moving out of ths country in a rapid pace, our defense department is being cut, I could go on and on. Now he wants to push Cap & trade, HealthCare and a judge to our Surpreme Courts,that has many unanswered questions about her loyalty toour Constitution.

    July 19, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  7. Micheal, Atlanta GA

    It is funny to see republican posters hammer away the "social medicine" theme. whatever jargon you want to throw at it, IF the prez can come up with a plan to have everyone insured AND keep deficits either same or marginally increase, then so be it. I didn't see any of you nibmwits yell about deficits when we were waging unnecessary wars.
    I'm not saying everyone should blindly accept the bill, but no one else seems to have better ideas to help the uninsured than what the prez has right now. U got a better idea, come debate. otherwise shut up.

    July 19, 2009 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  8. Larry

    It's not as hard as you think it is either. END THE WARS.

    July 19, 2009 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  9. Susie

    And now he's going to Martha's Vineyard for VACATION?? He's been on vacation since he was elected!!!! This boy LOVES to Vacation, Fly and Spend!!! Another STIMULATING trip for the NoBama – when will he WORK??????? And where will be be ensconsed this time!!!! On OUR $$$$. What a party boy!!! Millions to be spent on this joy ride, too!!!!!

    July 19, 2009 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  10. Lynda/Minnesota

    Well, I certainly hope all these "little details" are settled soon.

    There is an ENTIRE generation of baby boomers whose hightened high health risks for dementia, cancer, heart disease, arthritis, and other ailments will very soon become a strain on an already overburdened health industry.

    Public option now or in a few years. Either way it WILL be a reality. I doubt the health insurance industry will be any more willing to foot the bill when the boomers expenses begin to drain insurance profits – any more than did the banking or auto industries.

    Perhaps Obama is trying to circumvent another catastrophic disaster such as happened during the banking and auto industrial meltdown?

    July 19, 2009 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  11. CRob

    You state its not easy, then why not take the time to make sure it gets done right. We would rather have a plan next year that works, then one this year that is a complete disaster.

    July 19, 2009 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  12. sensible cape Coral Fl

    Hey Susie,

    Get a life for God's sake !!!!!!

    July 19, 2009 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  13. Lynda/Minnesota


    Correction. Ultimately we ALL will be paying for it. One way or another.

    Big business let us down. The auto industry let us down. Wall Street let us down. Our senators and representatives have let us down.

    I imagine the health industry is next line . . .

    July 19, 2009 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  14. gary davis Harbor Oregon

    when the government can have a health care program that doesn't make a big profit like the insurance companies do .then it will make the insurance companies have to play fair.
    and william Bennett like most republicans do not want government health care because the lobbiests want to keep everything just the way it has allways been . middle class gets to pay for everything.
    I personally have never been wealthy enough to be a true REPUBLICAN . and those who think they are a republican are just the little worker bees for the rich and selfish. lies and threats
    and the sheep just get in line and follow

    the word that scares the republicans and big buisness is.


    our new administration is doing a great job repairing the BUSH CHENEY crap of the last eight years

    July 19, 2009 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  15. Crazy Harry

    Susie, you really need to take your head out of the ground. You are so sadly in a totally delusional state.

    First I would recommend that you find a new news channel to watch. Then change your radio station to some smooth jazz, or any other station that doesn't have some wing nut spouting lies and distortions.

    July 19, 2009 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  16. gary davis Harbor Oregon

    ya ya ya SUE

    and bush had a white house in CRAWFORD TEXAS
    get your facts straight before your mouth over runs

    July 19, 2009 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  17. Lee, Ann Arbor Michigan

    The health care reform and cap and trade will not pass because Obama can't hoodwink enough Senators and Congressmen in time.

    Even his fellow democrat Senators and Congressmen are beginning to catch on that Obama is just a marxist and wants to grow government so big that all American's are dependent on it.

    July 19, 2009 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  18. susie

    If the Dems are going to push this health care on all of us.......then give us the same health care as the Congress gets! Everyone in the U.S. should have the same coverage.

    July 19, 2009 11:42 am at 11:42 am |

    If the government gets involved in running it you will have accomplished one more hades of a quagmire. I know since I worked in Civil Service for 34 years. It takes 7 offices to replace one civilian.

    July 19, 2009 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  20. Fair is Fair

    @ Lynda/Minnesota, who said:

    "Perhaps Obama is trying to circumvent another catastrophic disaster such as happened during the banking and auto industrial meltdown?"

    The Medicare system is already has many TRILLIONS of unfunded liability. It cannot possibly remain solvent. In short time, the public "option" will not be "optional". The government will be in full control of the healthcare delivery system – a full 17% of the nations economy. There WILL be rationing.

    July 19, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  21. wlou437

    There are too many unanswered questions in this bill. If it gets passed then breauocrats will make any rules or requirements they want without any congressional approval. This bill is designed to put the insurance companiues out of business because any company can drop; their coverage and pay only a $750 per employee fine. This is cheaper than monthly premiums. Why would they continue to pay for employee health benefits? And what about those small businesses (less than 25 employees) who don't have to offer health care. Their employees would than be without health care – but that is against the purpose of the plan to insure everyone. Over 21 million are employed by 5 million firms with less than 25 employees. And how do they fine me if I chose not to be insured?

    70% of all businesses have less than 25 employees and would not be required to provide health insurance under this bill. This could leave over 21 million workers without health insurance. This is not going to solve the problem.
    And there are no definite solutions to the cost of health care. Unless we can lower the cost, this will bankrupt America.

    July 19, 2009 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  22. Chris

    I find it hilarious that every Obama supporter on the comments here sounds like an illiterate poor person. Complaining about money constantly and wanting handouts... wow Liberals are sure awesome hahaha. Go make your own money, get a job and an education.

    July 19, 2009 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  23. GI Joe

    Now folks

    As soon as Bush and Cheney are forced to accept the new health care, then I'm sure the rest of our government will also.

    Limbaugh doesn't need health care (except for drug prescription renewals).

    July 19, 2009 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  24. Lynda/Minnesota


    I see you are making the rounds today, too.

    Having said that, there already IS rationing. Those who can afford health insurance have it. Those who can't afford health insurance don't have it. Try a new scare tactic, this one isn't going anywhere.

    btw, I like you BEST as "Thin is In?" . . .

    July 19, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  25. John in WV

    I am getting an average of 3 calls a day from insurance companies offerring affordable health care plans. Signs offerring affordable health care are being placed along roadsides. Why? It is because insurance companies are already beginning to compete and a reform bill has not even been passed yet. Obama has it right but there will always be people who simply can't stand the thoughts of him succeeding.

    July 19, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
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