Tags: US | Obama

Obama Dares Republicans to Present Health Plan

Friday, 19 Feb 2010 02:34 PM

Days before hosting an intensive healthcare summit with both Republicans and Democrats, President Barack Obama made a fervent push for his overhaul, calling it critical not just for the millions without insurance but the entire country's economic well-being.

"It is vital for our economy to change how healthcare works in this country," Obama said Friday at a town hall meeting in a high-school gym in Las Vegas.

"Don't let the American people go another year, another 10 years, another 20 years without health insurance reform in this country."

The president's plea for his top domestic priority, which faces an uncertain fate after nearly a year of work in Congress, earned him huge applause in the crowd.

He said the drawn-out effort has cost him politically, and also has undercut the standing of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada.

Obama was in Nevada to help the Senate leader survive a tough re-election fight this year — a race that could have a big impact on the balance of power in Washington and the fate of Obama's own proposals on healthcare and beyond.

"Healthcare has been knocking me around pretty good," Obama said. "It's been knocking Harry around pretty good."

But the president suggested that was due more to misinformation about the plans before Congress than to general unpopularity of reform, and he defended the Democratic bills that have passed in Congress — but which have not been reconciled into one piece of legislation.

The president's bipartisan summit is being held next Thursday in Washington.

He dared Republicans to put a proposal on the table to address the increasing number of uninsured and rising medical costs, rather than merely saying no to Democratic approaches.

Obama argued that the nation's economic woes require immediate action on the topic.

The appearance was billed as focusing on the economy but turned into an extended campaign plug for Reid, who is seen as one of nation's most vulnerable incumbents in the midterm elections this November.

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Days before hosting an intensive healthcare summit with both Republicans and Democrats, President Barack Obama made a fervent push for his overhaul, calling it critical not just for the millions without insurance but the entire country's economic well-being. It is vital...
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