The Obama Administration Ramps Up Push For Health Care Reform
The Obama administration ramps up efforts to promote health care reform and reacts to a sobering announcement by the Congressional Budget Office about the scoring of a health care bill.
CBS News/Associated Press reports on the president's presence at a New Jersey rally: "President Barack Obama returned to campaign-style rhetoric on Thursday, telling a political rally that inaction is not an option and urging allies to push for his overhaul of the nation's health care system. ... Obama told the gathering, which drew more than 17,000 people on a sweaty afternoon - the president's first political rally since taking office - that he is confident Congress will take action on health care before they leave on an August recess. The lawmakers' action, however, is only the first step toward the president's goal. ... Obama said recession is linked with the burden of the health care system on the economy. He said the nation's fiscal future depends on changing the health care system: 'Health care reform is deficit reform'" (7/16).
The Star Tribune/Associated Press puts the president's action in context: "Up one day. Down the next. Sometimes legislation to remake the nation's health care system moves in both directions at once. President Barack Obama's top domestic priority is on an unpredictable, midsummer trajectory as the White House and Democrats struggle to bring the complex, controversial issue to a vote in both houses before lawmakers leave town for their August break." The AP also reports on the administration's reaction to CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf announcement's that there were not any net federal savings for the health bill. "But a few hundred miles away, all was not well for the president and his allies. Elmendorf's remarks gave ammunition to Republican critics of the bill" (Espo, 7/17).
NBC's Today Show interviewed the President who began by saying: "The American people have to recognize that there's no such thing as a free lunch, right? So we can't just provide care to everybody, it has no cost whatsoever, you don't end up having to make any decisions."
Obama talked about self-responsibility, business responsibility and an individual mandate. He said: "I have changed my mind on this, because what I was persuaded of was that if we can phase this in so that we know there's affordable insurance out there -- and, in fact, a lot of the uninsured are relatively young people who can be insured fairly cheaply -- that that actually will drive down the costs for everybody." (Snyderman, 7/16).
Meanwhile, The Associated Press reports on the appearances of Vice President Joe Biden and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius at a health care forum in Alexandria, Va., on Thursday. "Biden says there has never been a better time to overhaul the nation's health care system because the industry now recognizes that helping the uninsured will ultimately bolster its bottom line.... he said drug companies recognize the potential profits in extending coverage to nearly 50 million Americans without health insurance" (7/16).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.