KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Obama To Congress: ‘Don’t Walk Away’ From Health Reform

The Associated Press: "His health care remake near collapse, President Barack Obama on Wednesday implored lawmakers not to abandon a historic opportunity even as he accepted part of the blame for failing to sell the complex plan to average Americans ... Obama defended his ambitious proposal, saying it would protect most Americans from being rejected for insurance if they get sick, preserve choice of doctors, bring down the federal deficit and provide affordable coverage for millions now uninsured" (Alonso-Zaldivar, 1/27).

The New York Times reports that, while much of the speech was about the economy, "[l]ater in the speech, he turned to health care, citing the need for Congress to act, and drew some spirited applause. 'By the time I'm finished speaking tonight, more Americans will have lost their health insurance,' he said. 'Millions will lose it this year. Our deficit will grow. Premiums will go up. Co-pays will go up. Patients will be denied the care they need. Small business owners will continue to drop coverage altogether.' But, he added: 'I will not walk away from these Americans. And neither should the people in this chamber." (Seelye, 1/27).

The Wall Street Journal: "Moving forward with a comprehensive bill would require Democrats to weigh the political risks of that course against the risks of abandoning the effort. Even if lawmakers decide to try, the House and Senate must agree on the substance of the bill, and on a parliamentary maneuver that would allow it to pass the Senate with a simple majority. Ahead of the speech, aides said, the president did not plan to address the tactics to achieve a health care bill. Lawmakers said they hoped to have a plan by week's end" (Meckler and Weisman, 1/27).

Kaiser Health News has the full text of the portion of the speech concerning health reform, as well as his remarks from 11 months ago, in his first address to Congress (1/27).

Roll Call on the GOP response from Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell: "McDonnell argued that Democratic plans would lead to the nation turning 'over the best medical care system in the world to the federal government,' while asserting that GOP 'solutions aren't thousand-page bills that no one has fully read, after being crafted behind closed doors with special interests'" (Stanton, 1/27).

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