March 3rd, 2010
12:55 PM ET
13 years ago

Obama set to release final health care reform plan

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption=" President Obama is set to release his final version of a health care reform bill on Wednesday."]Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama will release his final version of a health care reform bill Wednesday, arguing that it is a compromise plan that combines the best ideas of both Democrats and Republicans.

The president, according to excerpts of remarks released by the White House, will claim that the sweeping package "has been debated and changed and I believe improved over the last year."

He will also argue that a failure to pass a health care plan will raise questions about Washington's ability to effectively govern.

"At stake right now is not just our ability to solve this problem, but our ability to solve any problem," he says in the excerpts. "The American people want to know if it's still possible for Washington to look out for their interests and their future. They are waiting for us to act."

He will argue, according to the excerpts, that he doesn't "know how this plays politically," but knows that "it's right."

He will conclude his remarks by urging Congress to "finish its work," send a bill to his desk, and end what has become a vitriolic legislative showdown over his top domestic priority

Top Republicans have repeatedly said Obama's proposal is not good enough and reiterated calls for the president to scrap his nearly $1 trillion plan and start over.

Multiple Democratic sources have told CNN that the emerging consensus plan is for the House of Representatives to pass the Senate bill and send it to Obama. A package of changes that mirror the president's plan would then be passed through both chambers under reconciliation rules, which require only 51 votes in the Senate.

Democrats lost their 60-vote, filibuster-proof Senate majority in January, when GOP Sen. Scott Brown won the Massachusetts Senate seat previously held by the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, a Democrat.

Observers note, however, that it remains unclear exactly which health care provisions can be approved under reconciliation, which is reserved for legislation pertaining to the budget. Republicans have angrily criticized the Democrats' potential use of reconciliation, arguing that the maneuver was never intended to be used for major policy overhauls along the lines of the health care bill.

Democrats should "think twice" about using reconciliation, New Hampshire GOP Sen. Judd Gregg warned Tuesday.

Obama extended a final bipartisan olive branch to GOP leaders on Tuesday, stating in a letter that he is willing to consider several of their ideas in a compromise plan.

Specifically, the president said he may be willing to:

- commit $50 million to fund state initiatives designed to reduce medical malpractice costs;

- allow undercover investigations of health care providers receiving Medicare, Medicaid, and other federal programs;

- boost Medicaid reimbursements to doctors in certain states; and

- include language in the final bill ensuring certain high-deductible health plans can be offered in the health exchange.

The president said his decision to consider the GOP ideas was a result of last week's health care summit. GOP leaders, however, were unsatisfied with Obama's concessions. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, said the president's compromise ideas were little more than a few items "inadequately addressed in a 2,700-page bill."

Filed under: Health care • President Obama
soundoff (38 Responses)
  1. T'SAH from Virginia

    The RepubliCAN'Ts know that if this health care bill gets passed – it would be VERY difficult for them to campaign against it – especially by 2012 when "ALL IS WELL THAT ENDS WELL"!!!

    March 3, 2010 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  2. Mike in MN

    I'm watching Obama's health care speech and he just told his new big politicaly motivated lie. He says the big difference between the Democrats and Republcians is how much to regulate insurance compainies.
    This is a bold lie. There is far, far more that they differ on than the level of insuance company regulation. Like the mandate to force everyone to purchase insurance of pay a fine. Like the 500 billion in cuts to Medicare. Like all the new taxes to pay for another 500 billion. Like the 2700 pages of the bill that creates new government agencies, mandates and regulations that impact business, doctors and hospitals and individual tax payers who are not part of any insurance company. And like the cost of 1 trillion dollars.
    To say the only difference is over how much to regulate insurance compainies is a political lie to paint Republicans as only being only interested in protecting the bad guys, when in fact Republicans are really looking out for the tax payers who will have to pay for this terrible monster.

    March 3, 2010 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  3. borderraven

    Can someone tell me where in the US Constitution Congress gets the idea it has the power, to tell the people to buy a government provided service?

    Congress has the power to regulate commerce, but no power to create commerce.

    March 3, 2010 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  4. Richard Tyler

    It's time for a vote. Go for reconciliation. If I remember correctly the Republicans used reconciliation on several ocassions. I wouldn't be so worried about what the Republicans say they want. Given the state of affairs in Congress today, I can't imagine reconciliation making them look worse than they already do.

    March 3, 2010 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  5. Bed time for Raygun

    Hurry,I cant wait to see the dittoheads heads implode and Rush to have the big one.

    March 3, 2010 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  6. Reggie

    Obama is the most out-of-touch president in recent history. Look at the polls! NOBODY WANTS THIS, right now!!!

    March 3, 2010 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  7. Obama Victim

    My God.....what a loser!!!

    March 3, 2010 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  8. steve

    JOBS!!!!!!!!!!! you can not pay for your health care without jobs. Obama and the rest of our govt. is so far out in left field they can't, or refuse to hear the nation pleading for jobs! I truly believe this president is just pushing his agenda. He is acting like a teenager spending more than they make knowing that mom and dad will be there to bail them out. Sorry, son but mom and dad don't have any jobs!!!! I personally tune the president and any other govt. official out when they talk about anything other than jobs!

    March 3, 2010 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  9. Sandy

    It's not "right" when a large portion of the country is telling you no, they do not want it.

    March 3, 2010 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  10. Dena Burger

    I vote for the health care reform to pass!! It seems that all the republicans care about is themselves & their rich friends. They are not helping the "middle" class [as if there really is one!] at all. I love President Obama–he seems to really understand us & care about us.

    March 3, 2010 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  11. ran

    Get it done. And if you can put the house public option back in it.

    Then on to energy/immigration/jobs. Just get things done for the people elected officials and stop worrying about the next election. If you do right by us we will do right for you.

    March 3, 2010 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  12. Julia - Native American from Idaho

    Thanks to Ronald Reagan we now have at least a partial Universal health care system. Here's the law that he signed. And because the Republicans have denied health care to those who need it the most, the poor, I recommend every person without health insurance use this plan. In fact when I retire, I am going to provide transportation to all sick people that need a ride to our local Emergency department, break the system it that's what it takes to get medical care for all our citizens, after all this is a Democracy, isn't it??? The hospital will pass on the cost to the insured patients and the insurance companies will just keep raisin' their immoral rates, well you get the picture This is probably the only thing Reagan did that was a benefit to anyone.

    March 3, 2010 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  13. al in memphis

    There was never a question that this bill could be better. That is the way it is with all legislation- however, the president is right when he says it call into question their ability to demonstrate they can get things done. The Repubs would have more credibility if they would stop with this nonsense of saying let's just start over. That just saying nothing in the bill is worth considering. I would have had more respect if I could have heard something about put this in take this out– but all I hear is scrap it.

    When a country is broke, everything cost to much. But we got to know we are being held hostage by the insurance companies.

    March 3, 2010 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
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