President Obama Says Health Care Doable But ‘Hard’
"President Barack Obama said Friday as he left an international summit in L'Aquila, Italy, that he believes a health-care bill will pass Congress this year, but said 'special interests who profit from the existing system' are actively 'scaring people,'" Politico reports. "'I'm confident that we're going to get it done,' the president said at a news conference before he headed from the G8 to an audience with Pope Benedict. 'It is going to be hard, though. As dissatisfied as Americans may be with the health-care system, as concerned as they are about the prospects that they may lose their coverage or their premiums may keep on rising, they're also afraid of the unknown. And we have a long history in America of scaring people that they're going to lose their doctor, they're going to lose their health-care plans, they're going to be stuck with some bureaucratic government system that's not responsive to their needs. And overcoming that fear fear that is often actively promoted by special interests who profit from the existing system is a challenge.'"
Obama called health care his "highest legislative priority over the next month," and said he has "jumped in with both feet." He continued that "We are closer to achieving health-care reform than at any time in recent history. That doesn't make it easy it's hard. And we are having a whole series of constant negotiations. This is not simply a Democratic versus Republican issue. This is a House versus Senate issue. This is different committees that have different priorities. My job is to make sure that I've set some clear parameters in terms of what I want to achieve."
Asked it health care is "pretty much do or die by the August recess," Obama "replied with a growing smile: 'I never believe anything is do or die. But I really want to get it done by the August recess'" (Allen, 7/10).