Democrats: During August Recess, Obama Has ‘Major Responsibility’ To Promote Health Overhaul
As Congress prepares to leave Washington for the August recess, Democrats are worried the vacation will "kill momentum on health care reform," Politico reports. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., the majority whip, said "President Barack Obama bears a major responsibility during the summer recess to rally support and prevent that from happening." As members of Congress scatter for August break, "the White House is still there, generating a message and activity. So I think the president will have a chance to tell the American people a little bit more about why this process is so important," Durbin said. Urging fellow Democrats to coalesce around the proposals to keep the reform bill in motion, he added, "The Republican majority wants to filibuster us into failure, and we can't let that happen" (Raju, 7/29).
Earlier today, President Obama continued his nationwide press for reform at a town hall in North Carolina, the Los Angeles Times reports. "While promoting his plans for reform, the president also is attempting to dispel fears about them. Fewer than half of all Americans surveyed said they believe that healthcare reforms would improve medical care, a Gallup poll reported today -- with only 1 in 4 voicing confidence that medical care would improve." A top concern drummed by reform critics is that the plan amounts to a "government takeover of health care." The Times reports, "Addressing critics at large, the president said to a cheering crowd: 'These folks need to stop scaring everybody'" (Silva, 7/29).
Obama used the opportunity to lay out eight principles for protecting consumers in the insurance market, Bloomberg reports. "They include no discrimination for pre-existing medical conditions, no exorbitant out-of-pocket expenses, no cost- sharing for preventive care, no dropping of coverage for serious illness, no gender discrimination, no annual or lifetime caps, extended coverage for young adults through age 26 and guaranteed insurance renewal" (Chen, 7/29).