Obama Blankets Airwaves To Push For Health Reform
President Barack Obama's blitz across the Sunday talk shows to advocate for health overhaul legislation dominates news coverage today.
The New York Times: "The president, appearing in interviews on five television networks, said the health care fight had been more difficult than he anticipated and conceded that he has struggled 'breaking through.' He said he remained confident he would sign a health care bill into law and welcomed Republicans to the effort, but added, 'I don't count on them.'"
"'This isn't a radical plan," Mr. Obama told ABC's 'This Week.' 'This isn't grafting a single payer model onto the United States. It's simply trying to deal with what everybody acknowledges is a big problem'" (Zeleny, 9/20).
Bloomberg: "President Barack Obama said requiring individuals to have health insurance doesn't amount to a tax increase and that a Senate Finance Committee proposal will move the effort to revamp health-care forward. 'For us to say that you've got to take a responsibility to get health insurance is absolutely not a tax increase,' Obama said in an interview on ABC's 'This Week' program. 'Right now everybody in America, just about, has to get auto insurance. Nobody considers that a tax increase'" (Johnston, 9/20).
The Associated Press: "Obama said other elements of the plan would make insurance affordable for people, from a new comparison-shopping 'exchange' to tax credits. Obama put his support behind the idea of taxing employers that offer high-cost insurance plans. 'I do think that giving a disincentive to insurance companies to offer Cadillac plans that don't make people healthier is part of the way that we're going to bring down health care costs for everybody over the long term,' Obama said on NBC's 'Meet the Press'" (Feller, 9/20).
CQ Politics: Obama stressed that if nothing is done to address rising health care costs, 'Americans' costs are going to go up, more people are going to lose health care coverage, the insurance companies are going to continue to prevent people from getting it for pre-existing conditions. Those are all burdens on people who have health insurance right now.'
He also described overhaul as 'a very modest attempt to make sure that hardworking families out there are going to have the security of health insurance that they can count on'" (Silvassy, 9/20).
Politico: "Yet in the five back-to-back interviews, Obama frequently lumped himself in with past presidents who had pushed through major societal changes citing the serious resistance to his ideas among Republicans and many in the public as evidence that he's on the right track. 'They, you know, were mad at FDR when he started Social Security. They were mad at Lyndon Johnson when he started Medicare. And, you know, I think that the fact that this has become such a heated debate, is a sign that we're really trying to change the system. That we're not just tinkering around the edges,' Obama told Univision's Jorge Ramos" (Lee, 9/20).
CNN: "... the president rejected a recent comment by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, that conservative opponents were 'winning the health care debate.' McConnell was referring to heated town hall meetings around the country and a recent march on Washington organized by conservatives opposed to Obama's policies, which he said were forcing the president and Democrats to soften some positions. Asked about McConnell's comment, Obama responded 'Well, you know ... they were saying they were winning during the election, too'" (Stewart, 9/20).
MSNBC added: "The media push leads up to Tuesday, when members of the Senate Finance Committee plan to start voting on their version of a health care reform bill. Democrats on the committee are disappointed with the bill proposed by the chairman, Sen. Max Baucus of Montana. Republicans see a chance to deliver a stunning blow to Obama that could cripple his presidency."
"The stakes are so high because this isn't just another committee. The 23-member committee is a microcosm of the Senate, the narrow gate through which legislation to cover the nearly 50 million uninsured Americans and try to control medical costs has to pass. If the committee can't produce, then the ability of Obama and the Democrats to pass a bill this year will be in serious question" (9/20).