July 20th, 2009
03:32 PM ET
12 years ago

Obama, GOP trade barbs in health care fight

WASHINGTON (CNN) - The charged battle over health care reform intensified Monday as President Barack Obama accused GOP critics with putting politics ahead of policy.

A top Republican, in turn, accused Obama of ramming through an ill-conceived plan that will undermine the country's economic future.

The latest rhetorical volleys were traded as Democrats struggled to regain much-needed political momentum on the high priority issue before the August congressional recess.

The president seized on recent remarks by Sen. Jim DeMint, R-South Carolina, who said in reference to the health care debate that "if we're able to stop Obama on this, it will be his Waterloo. It will break him."

"Think about that. This isn't about me. This isn't about politics," Obama said during a visit to Children's National Medical Center in Washington.

"This is about a health care system that is breaking America's families, breaking America's businesses, and breaking America's economy. And we can't afford the politics of delay and defeat when it comes to health care. Not this time. Not now."

Full story

Filed under: Health care • Michael Steele • President Obama
soundoff (253 Responses)
  1. PROUD to be the Party of NO socialism!

    If people have health care needs, they can pay for them. They can buy food, shelter, cars, plasma TV's, Ipods, computers, fancy clothes, go on vacations, save, invest, but they can't buy health insurance? Nonsense.

    And if you WANT to cut costs, take government OUT of the equation. They are the main reason why costs are so high in the first place. Duh.

    The US is not Canada. We are about liberty for our citizens, but the price of that liberty is that you have have some sense of self-reliance. You can't expect the government to make your decisions for you and be a free person at the same time.

    Freedom is the only choice an American can make. If America is not about freedom and liberty, there is no longer any point to America.

    July 20, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  2. Runnerat43

    I want to hear about the Republican's alternative to the democrats plan. I am worried about how the currently proposed plan would be paid for. Taxing the weathly is not going to fund it. With all due respect for Sebelius and Orzag, I don't believe this plan will not add to the deficit. I am reminded of Medicare and Medicaid, Government plans that are a disaster in my mind. To add one more Govt "option" does not give me confidence. I would rather a plan that aims to fix the problems with our current health care system (reimbursments, the cost of COBRA, high cost of medical malpractice insurance, etc). I don't want to hear more doom and gloom from the Republicans, I want their alternative plan with a cost estimate.

    July 20, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  3. stevetall

    The fact is, health care in America is broken. The wrong people are making all the money. My business can't afford to provide insurance to our staff because it costs way too much. A whole network exists to keep it that way and I say, anything is better than what we have now.

    Fix it, you lazy, self-absorbed congress people. IF not, maybe we should strip you of your free coverage and make you pay for it. I bet it would get fixed then!

    July 20, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  4. history repeats


    "We have the best care, the shortest waits and we as a society are not willing to trade them for ANYTHING, regardless of what we might banter about the root evils being."

    we are not in YOUR society so stop trying to speak for americans. i am more than willing to trade in the high cost for health insurance and the fact that pre existing conditions prevent sick people from GETTING insurance, in a heartbeat! i am sick of people acting like there is nothing wrong just because THEY might have a pretty good plan! there are millions of us that are suffering and we are sick of these fear campaigns telling us what "MIGHT" happen if we take money away from the greedy health insurance companies that lieterally raise prices for co-pays, monthly payments and prescription costs EVERY QUARTER for YEARS.the propoganda is out and even when this plan starts to work people wil be bashing it and the health ins companies will be spending millions to battle it with propoganda. WE WILL NOT LISTEN!!! WE WILL OVERCOME!! REPUBLICANS HAVE BEEN TAKEN BY BIG BUSINESS AND WE KNOW WHO THEY REPRESENT AND IT IS NOT US!! THE REAL AMERICAN PEOPLE!! THE PEOPLE THAT DONT NEED A FLAG ON THEIR FRONT LAWN OR BUMPER STICKERS TO "PROVE" THEIR PATRIOTISM!!!!!!!

    July 20, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  5. Blue Dog

    What a surprise the GNoP calls for "expanding the tax deduction on health care costs" because that will really help low income people with precious little disposable income and "limiting medical malpractice lawsuits" because Repiglicans hate the trial lawyer bar since they do not support the GOP ethos of completely unregulated economics.

    Typical Repiglicans, screw the little guy anyway they can with thoroughly discredited tax policies and blanket protections for big business.

    In other surprising news, the sun will set in the west tonight.

    July 20, 2009 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  6. dominican mama 4 Obama

    @ Lacrosse Mom:

    Welcome back!

    July 20, 2009 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  7. Roy Arellano (San Antonio)

    Next time someone throws out that recycled BS about being fearful of a healthcare plan because it would be as "bad as the Post Office," remind them about the horrors of the Wal-Mart "Customer Service" counter. Remember, that horror is courtesy of a big corporate enterprise. Either way it goes, any real patriot can see that both sides of the aisle is the problem Neo-Cons and Libs.

    Think before you speak.

    BTW, most post office employees are regular, middle-class, tax paying folks who most likely shop at wal-mart with you and me, so I guess neo-cons hate regular, middle-class, tax paying folks who shop at wal-mart.

    July 20, 2009 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  8. Ex-Repug Gal

    The bullying and manipulative Republicans still don't get it. Work with Congress and bring in some constructive ideas that do not include tax cuts. That's what Americans need right now. Health care must be addressed. Why are we one of the only civilized countries that cannot make this happen?

    July 20, 2009 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  9. Samantha

    Yes Steele is healhcare was reformed you and you fellow GOPers will lose Monday. That is what it's all about isn't it????
    People with money don't care about the millions who don't have health care, jobs or anything else. Wake up people Healthcare is a billions dollar industry and if there's reform investors won't make their profit. Steele is a joke and so is the republican party. People are dying because they can't afford to see a doctor and their are people out here who still don't get the message. If you don't money your life don't mean anything to the Republican party....

    July 20, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  10. Sniffit

    @ panem et circenses, who asked "When has the government EVER been more cost-conscious than private industry?"

    I'd be very careful making that a focal point of your argument in light of the obvious costs resulting from private industry pulling the crap wall street and the rest pulled with the subprime mortgage securities they created and their credit-default swaps thereof...all of which is what truly led to the current disaster (no matter how much you wish upon a star that the analysis stops with Frank and Dodd)...not to mention the $30K toilets and undeserved "retention bonuses" on the taxpayer's dime after Bush and Congress recognized that they had placed us the brink of total disaster and required a bailout because they were "too big to fail." The reality is, it costs us more for the gov't to play the GOP's game of deregulatory chicken than it does for it to take a pro-active role in the development of our society and its health and welfare.

    July 20, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  11. Roger

    I'm sure Mr. Steele has a much better plan. Surely he wouldn't rip a plan because of partsian politics...........never mind..I forgot its not about us, its about them making money & lots of it from us.

    July 20, 2009 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  12. Linda

    Where is the incentive for our youth and young adults of tomorrow to achieve greatness, if they are going to have to carry the taxes of our country on their backs??

    July 20, 2009 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  13. Tina

    Forgotten fact: The millions in this country without healthcare go to the emergency rooms where they are treated and then cannot pay. This is more of a strain on the health care system than a universal health plan would be since the money not being paid for those services is redirected and the rest of us end of paying for it (or you could simply look at it as a wash and instead of the insurance companies raising rates, the government would buffer those costs). If you look at it that way, the benefit to society from a universal health care plan would be, plain and simple, better health for all citizens (not to mention the alleviation of stress due to not being able to afford healthcare). Is that what the Republicans are really fighting about? Insurance companies getting richer and richer, while the poor and sick are getting poorer and sicker?

    July 20, 2009 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  14. lol

    It boggles the mind that Obama and company can say these things with a straight face.

    What boggles my mind is the useless nonsence coming from the right.

    July 20, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  15. Fla.

    While the GOP "leaders" continue their constant criticisms, are there ANY new ideas they have to offer towards real healthcare reforms? Or will these Republicans only push an unacceptable status quo for their insurance & pharmacuetical corporations, while Americans are sufferring without coverage?!

    So-called "compassionate conservative" is sadly another fallacy.

    July 20, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  16. Gary

    According to the Whitehouse estimates, under Obama's current economic plan we are going from a GDP of $15 Trillion and a national debt of $10 Trillion – – in 4 years to a GDP of $18 Trillion and a naltional debt of $15.5 Trillion. This is crushing debt. And that doesn't even fix Social Security or Medicare or our public education system or Healthcare reform.

    The CBO says that the Democrat plan will cost money not save money. We have no more money. WE DON"T HAVE ANY MORE MONEY TO WASTE. President Obama needs to stop borrowing from our children and grandchildre. President Obama needs to stop promising free healthcare. President Obama needs to prove that he can balance the budget before trying to raise taxes. We are doing long term damage to our economy with President Obamas weak fiscal plan.

    July 20, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  17. Randolph Carter

    God forbid we should make sacrifices to help those less fortunate than ourselves. Too much "I've got mine" attitude these days. Have a nice day!

    July 20, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  18. Josh Maloney

    Again we see the Republicans slam Obama's plan without coming up with one of their own. Get a clue, Steele.

    July 20, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  19. Sniffit

    Name another industry in which terrible service results in you NEEDING more service, whether you like it or not, in the same manner as the health care industry.

    July 20, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  20. Chris from NY

    I watched him talk about this on TV the other day and he couldn't even come up with any solution of his own for thsi mess they put us in for 8 years.

    July 20, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  21. rick DC

    this is funny.... democrats run out of logical argument always resort to name calling, essentially became the party of hate and intolerance

    July 20, 2009 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  22. June in FL

    Mr. Steele and others.....remember all the negatives that went on when Medicare was introduced, but finally the good for the people overtook the loud negative views. Is Medicare a socialist program? Must be if governent is involved, according to the GOP's

    July 20, 2009 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  23. Lee

    Linda: "Where is the incentive for our youth and young adults of tomorrow to achieve greatness, if they are going to have to carry the taxes of our country on their backs??"

    Linda makes a brilliant point. Whose fault is it that our younger generations will inherit trillions in crushing debt? I'll tell you who: the voters who voted for Ronald Reagan, George Bush (the good one), and George Bush (the other one). That is where 75% of the national debt came from. (Google it).

    AND, that debt was irresponsibly run up during economic good times when a fiscally responsible governement would have been paying the debt off. However, fiscal responsiblity and Conservatism are two concepts that cannot be used in the same sentence (except this one).

    July 20, 2009 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  24. doug

    Here is an alternative from the republicans to the democrats plan:

    Give the American people the same health care plan you have in congress!

    How's that for an alternative plan!

    July 20, 2009 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  25. Deb

    Republicans should spend as much time trying to come up with new ideas as they do thwarting all the democratic ideas. If the democrats stopped coming up with ideas what would the republicans have to discuss?

    July 20, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
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