September 6th, 2009
06:05 PM ET
11 years ago

Gibbs: In speech, Obama will spell out ideas for health-care bill

(CNN) - President Barack Obama will spell out his ideas for health insurance in a speech to Congress this week, his spokesman said Sunday without revealing any details.

"People will leave that speech knowing where he stands," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said on the ABC program "This Week."

Asked if Obama would veto a final bill that lacks a public insurance option favored by Democrats but fiercely opposed by Republicans, Gibbs avoided a direct answer.

"We're not going to prejudge what the process will be when we sign it, as the president expects to do this year," he said, later adding: "I doubt we're going to get into veto threats" in Wednesday's speech.

Related: Senator signals possible health care compromise

The speech is considered Obama's opportunity to re-frame the health-care debate to try to reverse increasing public concerns over Democratic proposals.

Gibbs repeated Obama's support for a public health insurance option, which has become the most contentious issue in proposed legislation so far.

"The president believes it is a valuable tool to provide choice in competition," Gibbs said.

On the same program, a Democratic congresswoman said Republicans have no intention of supporting a health-care bill and only want to use the issue to damage Obama politically.

Rep. Maxine Waters of California said Democrats must push for the bill they want because Republicans don't want any bill to pass.

"Where's your bill? What have you come up with? What are you offering as an alternative?" Waters asked Republican Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana, another guest on the show. "It's bigger than health care. It's about President Obama, and the Republicans have decided to use this by which to bring him down."

Pence denied Waters' accusation, saying Republicans seek a less comprehensive and more affordable bill than the Democratic proposals currently in the House and Senate.

Americans are concerned about Obama's policies to expand government and increase spending, Pence said, adding that the Democratic health-care proposals will bring a government takeover of health care.

Asked to explain how, he said companies that currently provide health-care coverage as a benefit for workers would choose drop that coverage and pay a fine, shifting most people to the public insurance option.

"In this economy, there's no small business or large business worth its salt that isn't going to take a hard look at sending all of their employees to the federal government for their health insurance the minute a public option is available," Pence said.

In response, former House Majority Leader Tom Daschle, a Democrat also appearing on the show, denied that a public option would have a competitive advantage to drive private insurers out of the market.

"Congressman Pence's prediction, I think, is really baseless," Daschle said.

Updated: 6:05 p.m.

soundoff (37 Responses)
  1. sarah in virginia

    Actually, mostly ALL congressmen, women, and senators admit that they haven't read the bill. I find it absolutely hysterical that Obama has decided just now that he needs to give specifics on his health care plan. Did he really think that Americans would let this deal go through with only broad generalizations of what he wants and not specifics? Who is willing to bet that once does get more specific' the cost will go even higher?

    Remember, everyone, the CBO is non partisan, and they were very clear; not only is there no way to cut the defecit spending, but the defecit will rise, ans that conclusion was reached after only reading about half of the proposed bills! What will it take for people to wake up in this country and realize that when administrations wabt to rush something through congress that there are many things that particular administration is not telling us? Need I bring up the Iraq war?

    Come on people! THINK!

    September 6, 2009 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  2. Mike

    If I was President and the Republican Party said, "No public option". I would 'veto' it in a heart beat. Without the 'public option' in the new health care reform legislative bill.., we might as well be back at square one with millions of american citizens without good quality healh care medical insurance. Remember, "option", means 'choice'. I would rather have a "choice", than no choice at all. It is hard to believe that there are millions of americans, that for many reasons do 'not' have health care insurance or afford it. Let 'not' let down millions of americans that need good quality health care medical insurance. Mike in Montana

    September 6, 2009 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  3. No Hillary = No Obama

    You see what's happened here – Obama came into office as a coronated transformer and he internalized that hoopla because of his grandiosity. As a consequence he suffers from magical thinking. He thought all he had to do was say the words health care reform and his wish would be Congress' demand. He didn't do the groundwork necessary and now he is forced to actually work. Talk about a fast talker – lazy, lazy, lazy.

    September 6, 2009 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  4. Keith in Austin

    Republicans are NOT the problem folks! It's the TAX and SPEND Democratic party! All you Libbies trashing the GOP all the time must really be expecting some great entitlements and more government freebies from King Barry. Unless you're a freeloader on the backs of others or simply a socialistic bleeding heart, you should consider what true conservatism truly is and the positive impact it has on our lives by shrinking the size of the federal government! Most Americans do realize however that it's much easier to remain as liberal parasites sucking the blood of other hard working taxpayers. Take control of your lives and ween yourselves from the Government's nipple!

    September 6, 2009 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  5. Mark

    If he is waiting this long for actual details the details must be scarier than predicted.

    September 6, 2009 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  6. More propaganda

    This is tottal camel dung talk. The last time Obama said anything with specifics in it, he was in the 2nd grade and said he had to go to the little boys room to do a number one.

    Obama and the Democratrs are incomepent and a joke. Oblamo controls the white house, Senate, and House, and he and the Dems cannot even pass health care reform. Instead he blames the GOP.

    September 6, 2009 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  7. Cato

    I understand the need for compromise.....but this 'trigger' is just another way for those in the pockets of the insurance companies and Big Pharma, to wiggle out of helping those who need the help the most! Obama needs to say, "here is my compromise to you Dems who are for the bill with a public option in tack....or there will be no visits to your constituencies, no signature on legislation that you favor, and after we find someone else to back in your primary...we will let you know who it is". The LBJ way...take no prisoners when you know what you want and what is really needed!

    September 6, 2009 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  8. GG

    wait....Obama actually talking about some solid points, instead of talking in circles without a point?

    September 6, 2009 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  9. Brendan H., San Antonio, TX

    I am anxiously awaiting the opportunity to hear our President give this speech. I wonder if the Right-Wing Swifites have figured a way to interfere with the signal, short of blowing-up the transmission towers because you know full well they don't want anybody to hear what the President has to say on this!!!

    Unless, of course, they want the air time to detail their health care plan – which they don't have because the medical industry doesn't want one, and the Republicans are the Praetorian Guard on this for their benefit.

    September 6, 2009 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  10. Jay Baum

    I am 50 years old. I am employed as a blue collar worker. I have always had insurance through my various employers. My premiums ranged from 50-100% employer paid. As a young man I CHOSE not to have coverage for a while because I had other priorities. I also CHOOSE not to be a victim and whine for the goverment to take care of me. Your money and possessions belongs to you I have no claim to them why should the goverment. I will continue to WORK HARD to afford things like health insurance and I will ask nothing of you. This is not about politics it is about free will. IN THE HISTORY OF THIS COUNTRY, NEVER BEFORE HAS SO MANY DESERVED SO LITTLE. Stop looking to others to fix your life. You make the sacrifices and good choices that will lead to prosperity. I have little in savings but at least what I have, I have earned.

    September 6, 2009 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  11. B

    Just take OFF the velvet glove Mr. President !!

    The American people want this to happen with the Public Option included.

    September 6, 2009 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  12. Longhorn who speaks the truth.

    Gimme a break Obama can not spell health-care.

    September 6, 2009 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
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