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Obama Continues Push for Health Care Reform


U.S. President Barack Obama will keep up pressure this week on Congress to act on his domestic policy priority: health care reform. But, the ideological divide remains wide.

The president is working hard to energize support with community meetings and rallies.

But the opposition is talking just as tough. And tempers on both sides are on display.

The best example of how angry the debate has become - and of the high stakes involved - came Wednesday when President Obama addressed a joint session of Congress.

Obama: " The reforms I am proposing would not affect those who are here illegally."

Wilson: "You lie!"

Republican Congressman Joe Wilson of South Carolina, who was responsible for that outburst, later apologized to the White House. But Democrats say Wilson broke House rules and should get a formal reprimand.

Wilson says he will not apologize again. He told the Fox News Sunday television program that he still thinks the president is wrong.

"People know my civility," said Wilson. "They know this is a one-time event and it was out of frustration. I believe in the truth. What I heard was not true."

On CBS's Face the Nation, Republican Senator Olympia Snowe of Maine called Wilson's conduct during the speech unfortunate and disgraceful.

"Frankly, if there was more civility, we perhaps could get more done for the American people and that would set an example for everybody else," said Senator Snowe.

But such civility is in short supply these days on Capitol Hill. Snowe is the only member of her party who has indicated she could sign on to health care reform legislation drafted by the Democrats.

Senator Orrin Hatch, a Utah Republican is holding firm against it. He told Fox News Sunday he doubts a reform measure will pass this year.

"I really believe that the hard work has to be done," said Senator Hatch. "Hopefully, we can all work together and get it done. But I do not see it with what they [the Democrats] are trying to do."

Perhaps the biggest source of controversy is how big a role government should play in the health care system.

President Obama has talked about a government-run health insurance program to compete with private insurers. But White House advisor David Axelrod told CBS the president will entertain other ideas.

"This is not the whole of health insurance reform and we should not let the whole debate revolve around this one question," he said.

Opponents say any public health insurance option would just open the door to a complete government takeover of the health care system.

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