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. machtim akannah

    I have the following comments to the plan:
    a) If the plan is so good, then let all of Congress participate as they expect the American public to participate and give up their current government health plan. Alternatively, let the American public have the equivalent of the Congressional health plan.
    b) At a volume of 1600 pages, I bet no one has read the bill and could explain it in detail. In all probability, the bill contains contradictions and will result in unintended consequences.
    c) If the plan is so good, why would I be restricted from going "private" at my option and if I desired a change in plans.
    d) Discussion of the bill should ABSOLUTELY NOT include any "pork" amendments which are foisted on the American public during the wee hours of the morning without being exposed to the public.
    e) I don't want Congress, the President, or a government bureaucrat evaluting my medical needs, strategy, or establishing my visitation schedules.
    f) The plan should NOT cover illegal aliens or, for that matter, their children. Yes, doe the humanitarian thing for the short term and then deport them.
    g) Our plan may be more expensive than desirable, but it is the best in the world. That is why those that can afford it come from foreign locations to take advantage of our medicine.
    h) The high cost of our medical service includes research for new medicines, procedures, and new / improved equipment. An unintended consequence of government control may cause a loss in this area.

    July 20, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  2. history repeats

    Bunch of Fools

    raplace "king obama" in your paragraph with "george "bringing god back to america" bush" and youll understand what HE actually did during his presidency. the man did whatever he wanted. he hired and fired based on loyality to cronyism. look at up "fired lawyers bush amdinistration" on google for an example. he promotes NEGROPANTE to fight terrorism when the man was in charge of PROMOTING terrorism under reagan in nicarauga. he put paul bremer A RELIGIOUS NUT" in charge of iraq after the war! he screwed everything up and had to sneak out of iraq in the middle of the night!!! bush passed bills that would have never passed in an intelligent society that was not being motivated by fear. wire tapping, eliminating habeus corpus, torture. it gave countries carte blanche to react violently to anyone that rebelled against the government in the name of "war on terror. bush supported murderous regimes as long as they supported us with oil pipelines throughout the middle east an asia.

    July 20, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  3. Randy

    We were not Happy with Bill Clinton
    We were not Happy with Bush
    We are not Happy with Obama
    We can Have a President "MADE in CHINA".

    July 20, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  4. 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 fixing the mess the Republicans put us in for 8 years. I know we Americans are impatient people but come on to expect this President to fix in 6 months an economy that was messed up for 8 years is incomprehensible. Hey! The guy has been counted out several times and lived. He will live again.

    July 20, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  5. doug

    for all you democrat supporters of this plan, please think about this and contemplate this:

    if the congress does not want this health care plan for THEMSELVES and their FAMILIES, then why do you want it for YOURSELVES and your FAMILIES!

    July 20, 2009 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  6. Dixon

    As I see it my plan has been going up for years. The Republicans haven't cared until now? The party of "NO" strikes again.

    July 20, 2009 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  7. Sniffit

    "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."

    Please take a picture of the next homeless person you see running around with an i-Pod and send it to CNN so they can publish it...better yet, send it to the RNC so they can film an anti-Obama ad with your "proof" that the real reason people are suffering in this country is because of their own greed, not the greed of those with all the power and money.

    July 20, 2009 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  8. machtim akannah

    I keep hearing that the health plan will be deficit neutral. This is politcal speak for a tax is coming. Deficit neutral means the cost will be paid for by incoming revenues. Where or how will the revenues be generated? You got it, TAX, TAX, TAX.

    July 20, 2009 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  9. history repeats

    Bunch of Fools

    i can garauntee if we did not have domocracy in this country george w bush would have led us to a dictatorship. he was stripping our rights and the people were applauding. same EXACT pattern as hitlers germany. if you think your RIGHTS have anything to do with giving your money to health insurance companies to PROFIT off of your health then you were one of the fools applauding as bush stripped HABEUS CORPUS with basically no protest from the sheep that thought he was bringing america back to jesus!! the people that think everything is as simple as good and evil are the people that cant think out of the box. that think socialism is EVIL when they actually live in a socialist society (see" post office, police departments, fire departments, public parks, libraries, road maintenance etc) these are all socialist. you dont mind them do you?? you even call policemen and firemen heros now!!! BUT THEY ARE APART OF THE SOCIALIST MOVEMENT TAKING CONTROL OF OUT COUNTRY!!! RIGHT!?!?!? you people have zero common sense. its time for the adults to take over!

    July 20, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  10. Takeshi

    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 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  11. Stu-Florida

    OK Steele...
    I'm sitting and waiting for an idea, any idea from the GOP.
    I'm ready. Let's have it!

    (slience) Still waiting Mr. Steele. I'm ready...

    (silence) Are you hearing me Mr. Steele. I need YOUR ideas...

    (more silence) Mr. Steele... Mr. Steele, are you still with us?

    (deafening silence)

    They haven't a clue. They just yap like a schnauser accompanied by those little ankle bites! Always nipping at Obama. Dweeebs!

    July 20, 2009 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  12. Ren from Baltimore

    Whatever, Mr. Steele. Just PLEASE NEVER come back to Maryland.

    How did you ever get in here in the first place?? Hip hop contest consolation prize???

    July 20, 2009 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  13. Steve

    This guy Steele is a total twit.

    July 20, 2009 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  14. Sue

    I am all for government healthcare as long as Congress and the Prez all sign up for the same healthcare they are going to force on the people. Evidently it must not be good enough....not one of them want to sign up for it!

    July 20, 2009 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  15. Vietnam Combat Veteran, Ohio

    Yeh, like you really care Steele. By the way, which one of your pockets is the fullest?

    July 20, 2009 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  16. Esco

    Where is that 280 billion that disappeared whout a trace last year and half...?!!? Millions of other tax dollars went missing in the Bush Era... Now that people are suffering they want to avoid good health care for the people that cannot afford insurance? Real clever...

    July 20, 2009 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  17. Mark, Philadelphia

    From Lee, "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)."

    Lee, first off, Obama's debt will be greater than all the Republican presidents you list above. Also, are you supporting the logic that since our nation has run up debt under other presidents, that we should not raise any voice of concern when that debt is about to skyrocket under Obama??

    When Obama ran for president, he highly critized President Bush and the GOP for adding to the national debt. But the debt Obama is going to hand us will make Bush's debt look small in comparison.

    Fellow Americans, you are not taking the national debt situation seriously enough. Eventually, this country will go bankrupt if we don't curb our government's spending, and then the real misery in this country will begin.

    July 20, 2009 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  18. history repeats


    you didnt care about the debt that the wars would be on our childrens and grandchildrens backs!! when they were saying saddam had WMD's you didnt want to handle it diplomatically. you didnt want to AVOID war. you didnt care about that! you were putting bumper stickers on your cars saying "these colors dont run"!!! you werent THINKING about the debt! you were thinking about KICKING BUTT!!! then when there was no weapons did you sit down and think about the daily cost and that we made a mistake and we should pull out and stop spending billions of dollars a day over there? NO you were telling your freinds that we were spreading democracy!! when billions were dissapearing into haliburton and blackwater and other contractors were you outside of the white house protesting? were you worried about our kids future?! did you care that the "terrorists" on 9/11 were all saudi arabian YET we attacked afghanistan and iraq!? of course not!! you didnt care until NOW! now that we want to use the money for the health of american citizens! NOW your up in arms! NOW you want to protect our future generations. NOW you care!! WOW how patriotic the right is!!!

    July 20, 2009 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  19. panem et circenses

    @ sniffit

    "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…"

    The mortgage industry did NOT come up with subprime mortgages, Barney Frank and company did when they issued the directive to mortgage companies to make loans to people who did not qualify for them. Congress forced excessive risk onto the mortgage companies and they responded as ANY business would – they sought to decrease the risk by bundling the bad loans with good loans.

    Now ask yourself what the healthcare industry will do when Congress starts interfering with them and forcing them to do things that COMMON SENSE says you should not do. Instead of losing money in the stock market you could lose your life.

    July 20, 2009 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  20. Steve (the real one)

    @tom July 20th, 2009 12:17 pm ET
    Wanna bet Steele has healthcare for him and his family and doesn't pay a penny for it?
    You mean kinda like what the democrats in Congress have or just only the republican members?

    July 20, 2009 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  21. hadelaide

    Steele should have provided the following rankings of health care by countries:

    WHO Ranking of Health Care by Country (just the first 50):
    1. France; 2. Italy; 3. San Marino; 4. Andorra; 5. Malta; 6. Singapore;
    7. Spain; 8. Oman; 9. Austria; 10. Japan; 11. Norway; 12. Portugal;
    13. Monaco; 14. Greece; 15. Iceland; 16. Luxembourg;
    17. Netherlands; 18. United Kingdom; 19. Ireland; 20. Switzerland;
    21. Belgium; 22. Colombia; 23. Sweden; 24. Cyprus; 25. Germany;
    26. Saudi Arabia; 27. United Arab Emirates; 28. Israel; 29. Morocco;
    30. Canada; 31. Finland; 32. Australia; 33. Chile; 34. Denmark;
    35. Dominica; 36. Costa Rica; 37. United States of America;
    38. Slovenia; 39. Cuba; 40. Brunei; 41. New Zealand; 42. Bahrain;
    43. Croatia; 44. Qatar; 45. Kuwait; 46. Barbados; 47. Thailand;
    48. Czech Republic; 49. Malaysia; 50. Poland

    Can you imagine? Wow, who would have known that "socialism" in France is getting its people quality healthcare. Even Colombia is #22, beating out the all powerful USA. Let the repubs and blue-dogs turn over the HOPE cards. Then I'll know for certain that they want to save the taxpayers money and not sucking up to insurance companies and big pharma.

    July 20, 2009 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  22. Diane

    You know, I don't really want fighting and name calling between the parties. I want healthcare that I can afford. Right now my family and I don't have that. For you who think we can buy anything we want, food and utilities and shelter pretty much take care of what we make. Not expensive food either. I suppose for you who make 100,000 or more a year, it's no big deal to pay 20,000 for a two-day hospital stay, for me it's a back breaker. Some of us have to be the people who do the real work–builders, servers, nurse aides, clerks, teachers, farmers. We are the ones who support the lifestyles of those of you who make enough money to buy health insurance and health care. Yet, you are so selfish that you think we don't deserve help to live a healthy life, or to be sewed up after an accident. That's really sad.

    July 20, 2009 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  23. panem et circenses

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

    Yeah, things like STOP SPENDING MONEY WE DON'T HAVE!

    July 20, 2009 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  24. Steve (the real one)

    @Phat Elvis July 20th, 2009 12:24 pm ET
    Oh what a line of Hooey. 8 years in power and no health care reform from Bush, so what makes anyone think republicans would want to overhaul the system any time in the future? right now they are just stonewalling
    Please don't forget the 8 years prior to Bush! You got what from Clinton? If this plan is al that, why are DEMOCRATS backing away? You seem to forget, you have cvontrol of the ENTIRE congress and White House and don't need republican support but yet the repubs are stonewalling? Exactly how? Like I just said...DEMOCRATS are backing away but that is the fault of republicans? Be HONEST!

    July 20, 2009 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  25. Dave

    Does anyone really care what this moron thinks?

    July 20, 2009 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
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