Obama Emphasizes Historic Nature Of Health Care Vote During Final Rally
The Washington Post: "Thousands of people rallied loudly for passage of health-care legislation in Northern Virginia Friday as President Obama tried one final time to demonstrate public support for the health-care bill that is moving toward a Sunday afternoon vote in Congress. In an old-fashioned pep rally that consciously recalled the final days of Obama's presidential campaign, a crowd of mostly students packed the Patriot Center at George Mason University to hear the president deliver a feisty closing argument for what he called a 'fateful debate' that has been raging for a century." Outside the event, "a modest-sized 'tea party' protest reflected the storm of conservative anger that Obama and his party face as they move closer to passage of a $940 billion overhaul of the U.S. health-delivery system. Hundreds of people with signs and bullhorns yelled at attendees as they filed into the stadium" (Shear and Branigin, 3/19).
The Washington Times: "Mr. Obama stressed familiar arguments" to the audience at GMU's Patriot Center, saying the Democratic bill is the only way to stop health insurance companies from taking advantage of customers. ... Just as he told crowds during recent trips to Philadelphia, St. Louis and Strongsville, Ohio, Mr. Obama concluded by saying he doesn't 'know how this plays politically.' 'I do know the impact it will have on the millions of Americans who need our help," he said. "...In just a few days, a century-long struggle will culminate in a historic vote'" (Rowland, 3/19).
USA Today: Obama "lashed into the insurance industry, as he has for the past few weeks with increasing ferocity. He called the legislation 'a patients' bill of rights on steroids:' If this vote fails, the insurance industry will continue to run amok. They will continue to deny people coverage. They will continue to deny people care. They will continue to jack up premiums 40% or 50% or 60% as they have in the last few weeks, without any accountability whatsoever. They know this. And that's why their lobbyists are stalking the halls of Congress as we speak, and pouring millions of dollars into negative ads. And that's why they're doing everything they can to kill this bill." Obama also criticized people he said were putting the "politics of the upcoming votes ahead of the policy" (Rowland, 3/19).
CBS News: Obama referred to the historic nature of this vote saying "'a century-long struggle' for reform is about to 'culminate in a historic vote.' The president, who appeared energetic and enthusiastic, linked passage of the health care bill to the passage of social security and civil rights legislation, arguing that the debate on the legislation is 'about the character of our country.' He cited past presidents who have supported reform, among them Republican Teddy Roosevelt, who he quoted as having backed 'aggressive fighting' for expanded coverage" (Montopoli, 3/19).
ABC News: "President Obama cast the pending vote on health care reform in the pantheon of other great liberal legislative triumphs for Civil Rights and Social Security. ... With a nod to the protracted fight, vote-whipping, and controversial bill-sweeteners such as the soon-to-be-killed 'Cornhusker Kickback,' the president said that 'as messy as this process is, as frustrating as this process is, as ugly as this process can be, when we have faced such decisions in our past, this nation, time and time again, has chosen to extend its promise to more of its people'" (Tapper and Miller, 3/19).
Read the transcript of President Obama's remarks.This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.