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. Kris D., Toronto

    Ex-Repug Gal asked:
    “Why are we one of the only civilized countries that cannot make this happen?”

    I think it’s because a handful of people in America make boatloads of money with the system the way it is and they are spending that money to ensure nothing is changed. It’s quite sad, really. Millions of Americans don’t have healthcare or can’t afford the treatment that will save their lives. Millions have gone bankrupt because a loved one fell chronically ill.

    This is NOT the America that I know.

    Don’t back down Democrats, you’ve still got the majority of the country behind you despite the assault by the special interest groups and the fear-mongering of the GOP. Hunker down and hold your ground. God speed.

    July 20, 2009 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  2. Retired US ARMY

    Its easy to attack healthcare reform. However, I am sick and tired of the attacks on proposed measures to provide healthcare to all Americans, if politicians/groups have a problem with what is being proposed then have them setforth their own proposals. That is of course if they have the back bone to submit something with their name on it.

    July 20, 2009 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  3. Susan (Michigan)

    What Republicans fail to realize (or admit) is that we are ALREADY paying for everyone's healthcare because when uninsured folks use the ER for primary care and don't pay, guess who does? All of us. So wouldn't it be wiser to get costs under control and make sure everyone has access to cheaper preventive care?
    And about taxes and incentive, Linda. I have never thought about working less hard so I would pay fewer taxes. I also have never met anyone who thinks that way. Who is paying for our grandparents' and parents' SS and Medicare? We are...they never earned or contributed enough to cover their retirements, just as we won't. We have the ability to invest and save to help with ours, and we do that.
    People would rather be working and paying their way...this idea that libs sit home and count other people's money is ludicrous to say the least, and a very weak argument at best.

    July 20, 2009 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  4. Ciera

    How come Republicans are just now coming forward with "bright and brilliant ideas " about Healthcare Reform when at least 40 million Americans have been Uninsured or Underinsured for years?

    During their Reign of Error, not one Republican did anything for the cause of overhauling a broken healthcare system until President Obama started making serious strides in this area, but have all of a sudden Republicans have developed expertise on how to fix the problem...DO NOTHING...IT'S ABOUT SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST.

    July 20, 2009 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  5. jm

    Why destroy the healthcare system in this country when 89% of people are happy with their coverage? Why was a ammendment brought to committee exempting illegeal aliens from getting universal coverage voted down by the Dems? If this plan is so expensive why are they trying to cover people who don't belong in this country before taking care of our own? Just some things to ask yourselves.

    July 20, 2009 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  6. Steve (the real one)

    @Albert July 20th, 2009 12:39 pm ET

    What did you Republican Idiots do in the past 8 Years on Health Care? Nothing; Zero; ………
    What did you Democrat Idiots (your words) do in the previous eight years BEFORE Bush on Health Care? Nothing; Zero; ………

    July 20, 2009 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  7. Debbie

    From "Proud": 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.

    Really? I suppose in your lala land this is true - but do not assume that all those millions who have been laid off are buying luxury items. No, on their unemployment of $150 per week, they have to come up with $300 per month for Cobra. Get your head out of your cheeks. This is why the wealthy Republicans are so out of touch, and the Joe the Plumbers are too dumb to understand that the wealthy members of their party could care less about them and are only using them for their votes.

    July 20, 2009 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  8. Ciera

    How come Republicans are just now coming forward with "bright and brilliant ideas " about Healthcare Reform when at least 40 million Americans have been Uninsured or Underinsured for years?

    During their Reign of Error, not one Republican did anything for the cause of overhauling a broken healthcare system until President Obama started making serious strides in this area. Now all of a sudden Republicans have developed expertise on how to fix the problem...DO NOTHING...IT'S ABOUT SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST.

    July 20, 2009 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  9. David/Florida

    Hey Steele, TAKE A HIKE!!!

    July 20, 2009 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  10. Thinking Straight

    Republicans opposition to universal healthcare just reflects a lack of empathy for the piight of poor Americans.

    July 20, 2009 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  11. Educate yourselves before you open your mouth and just let the words fall out

    Republicans do not want health care reform to be passed during Obama's presidency. Period. They know that if it is passed, they will be hemorraging more votes than they already are and they will become a non-party. It is in Repbubicans vested interest to fear-monger as much as they can to stop health care reform. That is the major reason that they are standing in the way. Oh . . . and also that many of them are in the pocket of insurance companies. Again . . . health care reform is NOT in their vested interest.

    Americans need to wake up to this very basic fact!

    July 20, 2009 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  12. Julia Byrd- Hayden Idaho

    Hmmm, the only men of Steel I know belong to the United Steel Workers Union, and trust me on this one, this republican goof ball is no man of Steel

    July 20, 2009 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  13. IQ test required for all VOTERS!!!

    Republicans are greedy, interested only in their personal profits at the cost of everyone, shysters.

    Universal healthcare IS the best approach to reforming healthcare. Its a FACT and anyone who argues to the contrary are bought and paid for by the lobbyists and special interests groups of the corrupt healthcare system!!

    July 20, 2009 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  14. not drinking the obama kool-aid

    It's about time one of his own kind speaks out the truth against him. No one will listen to a White American blasting obama without calling him/her prejudiced. So the more blacks to speak out about the obvious shortcommings & failures of your pied piper the better the chances that you'll all start seeing what he really is! And why anyone with the sense God gave a goose wouldn't have voted for him!
    Thanks Steele, regardless of your movites for doing so – you speak the truth in this matter.

    July 20, 2009 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  15. Educate yourselves

    Repubs called for expanding the tax deduction on health care costs for employers to include individual taxpayers — what the Republicans call equalized tax treatment — and limiting medical malpractice lawsuits that he said drive up the cost of medical care.

    Stop saying the republicans aren't bringing anything to the table. The problem is, the dems shut them out. Ask yourselves, why are the dems shutting out the ideas from the republicans? Bipartisan?

    July 20, 2009 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  16. Jo

    Steele is a back seat for the GOP. Mr. Steele wake up and see that you are noting but a idiot.

    July 20, 2009 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  17. GOPs shut up!

    Obama's plan may have to be revised later, but unlike the GOPs at least he has a plan & isn't sticking his head in the sand about how crazy and evil the U.S. health insurance system is. Yes the costs are scary, but doing nothing will ultimately be even more expensive.

    July 20, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  18. Adam

    Obama is on the wrong side of yet another huge issue and people are FINALLY waking up to it! He's SO wrong about healthcare, he was on the wrong side of the ousting of the Honduran leader, and his repetitive and continuing lies about the speed and effectiveness of the stimulus plan have added up to equal one screw up of a president. 2012 needs to get here quick, no telling how many more tax hikes and added trillions to the deficit he'll try to rush through congress!

    July 20, 2009 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  19. Mississippi Mike

    If the Obamacare bill passes and it turns out to be a total bust, the GOP gets to say, "I told you so." If it doesn't pass, Obama's key money-wasting project becomes his biggest failure. Either way, the Democrats fail in the long-run.

    July 20, 2009 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  20. Chandler

    President Obama is 100% correct. Too bad the medical industry has MASSIVE lobbying power to spread lies and false information. It is so sad that Steele would defend and industry that said under oath that they INTENTIONALLY TARGET VICTIMS OF BREAST CANCER for the act of "rescission", where they terminate your coverage after you get sick.

    The right threatens that Washington will be controlling your health care. News flash! WALL STREET IS ALREADY CONTROLLING YOUR HEALTH CARE!

    July 20, 2009 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  21. LIP

    We can't afford not to make this right. Haste makes waste.
    The Republicans are no more obstructionists than the Democrats were during the Republican administrations.
    Obama seems bent on shoving this down our throats before the August recess. 1,000 pages that most Senators will not bother to browse and it all boils down to higher taxes and more buracracy.

    July 20, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  22. Ray Lawson from Danville, VA

    Healthcare should not be about Obama.
    A better healthcare system is about 300 million citizens of this country.
    Why does Obama want to ram his plan through Congress without debate? Just like the so called stimulus package and the cap and trade bill which has only gotten past the house.
    He knows they won't pass the smell test. These things should be heavily debated and the news media should educate the people about what is in these bills.
    We have no idea what is in these bills and no one should vote for them until everyone is enlightened about their contents.

    July 20, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  23. donttreadonme

    If Obama's plan is so good then why are moderate Dems against it? Remember he doesn't need Republicans to vote for this he has the super-majority!

    July 20, 2009 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  24. Joe Cool

    Should we really be spending all that money on trips to the Moon and Mars, when we are already Trillions of dollars in debt? If I were flat broke, living paycheck-to-paycheck, I would not be going out for a steak dinner every night.

    July 20, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  25. Chuck

    Currently, we have the Republicans' health care system run by the insurance industry - they fleece people with coverage while denying care to increase profits. Insurance companies overcharge patients, doctors, and hospitals. Because they are driven by greed and their charges are not regulated by government, we all know they will continue raising prices. Insurance companies are middlemen that make obsence profits and never cured a single patient. To control costs and quality and have universal coverage, we need single payer or a public option. Tell Republicans to please stop lying to the public.

    July 20, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
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