President Obama Pushes Health Care Reform At Town Hall Meeting
President Barack Obama spoke at a town hall meeting in Annandale, Va., as part of his continuing push to overhaul health care reform. It was his second such health-care event in eight days.
Bloomberg reports: "President Barack Obama stepped up his drive to overhaul the health-care system, saying that the U.S. economy has been 'weakened by the crushing cost' of care and the economy will 'just sputter along' without changes." Obama said: "It's also time to finally provide Americans who can't afford health insurance with more affordable options," he said. "It is a moral imperative and it is an economic imperative."
Bloomberg reports: "While Obama is pressing Congress to send him comprehensive legislation by October, lawmakers have struggled in their efforts to reach a compromise. A lack of consensus among members of the Senate Finance Committee prompted Chairman Max Baucus, a Montana Democrat, to postpone action until next week. Among the issues dividing lawmakers is whether to create a government-run entity to compete with private insurers, a move that Republicans say would cripple the industry. Obama has promoted the public-insurance plan, although he has left himself open to variations of such an approach. ... In framing [the] health-care overhaul as an economic imperative, Obama says rising costs are threatening U.S. competitiveness and draining government budgets while leaving 46 million people uninsured." According to Bloomberg, "Obama said today that 'whatever we do, we have to pay for,' and that the measure must not increase the deficit over the next 10 years" (Andersen and Chen, 7/1).
USA Today set the scene for the meeting: "It's the first of July, the month that policymakers say is going to be key in devising a health care overhaul -- or failing to deliver on President Obama's top legislative priority. The president starts the month with a town hall meeting at Northern Virginia Community College in suburban Annandale this afternoon. There are only about 250 seats in the small hall for guests. The bigger audience is on-line. The White House solicited questions on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. On Capitol Hill, there's a scramble to figure out how to finance a plan that would control costs and expand coverage to all or some of the 46 million Americans who now lack health insurance. That's not easy: A preliminary analysis by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office last month of the Senate health committee's draft said it would cover another 16 to 17 million Americans -- but at a cost of $1 trillion over 10 years. Obama has been getting more involved in pushing for an overhaul and drafting its specific provisions, a task he had been leaving to Congress" (Jackson and Page, 7/1).
USA Today also provided live online coverage of the meeting (Jackson, 7/1).
The Associated Press reports: "President Barack Obama hugged a woman who told him at a town hall meeting she has cancer but no way to pay her expenses. Obama said the woman, identified as 'Debbie,' is a 'perfect example' of someone who has gotten caught up and is lost in a broken health care system" (7/1).
The Associated Press / Washington Post: Obama is maintaining "his opposition to caps on jury awards to people who successfully sue for medical malpractice. But Obama also told a town hall meeting on health policy that he is sensitive to the complaints of doctors and other health care professionals that the threat of lawsuits is harming the profession and driving up costs" (7/1).
The Associated Press/ Los Angeles Times: Obama also said "he doesn't want to see people have to pay more for health care as part of his health care overhaul plan. And he says that's why he's not backing the idea of taxing health care benefits. ... Obama says his 'bottom line' is that people who now have health care shouldn't see their costs go up as part of health care reform" (7/1).
The Associated Press / Boston Globe: "President Barack Obama says his health care plan would benefit small businesses and people who are self-employed, by giving them more leverage against insurance companies. He says this would be done through a health care exchange for employers who have too few workers to get a good health insurance package, and people who are self-employed" (7/1).
The White House released a transcript of the meeting.
The Republican National Committee posted a live response to the meeting.
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