News / USA

Obama Pushes Congress to Pass Health Reform

US President is also expressing urgency on the issue because he will leave on March 18 for a week-long trip to Indonesia and Australia.

US President Barack Obama delivers the weekly address, 06 Mar 2010
US President Barack Obama delivers the weekly address, 06 Mar 2010
Kent Klein

U.S. President Barack Obama is battling for passage of his health-care reform proposal.  The president is appealing to Democratic lawmakers, who will likely decide whether the main item in his domestic agenda is approved.  

In his weekly radio and Internet address, President Obama asks lawmakers to cast a final vote soon on his top priority, which has dominated public debate for the past year.

"I know it has been a long and hard road to this point.  And we are not finished with our journey just yet.  But we are close.  We are very close.  And so I ask Congress to finish its work.  I ask them to give the American people an up or down vote," he said.

Opposition Republicans have indicated they will not support the plan, so Mr. Obama will likely need "yes" votes from an overwhelming majority of Democrats, not all of whom agree on the proposal.  

Republicans, meanwhile, are again calling on the president to start over on the issue.  The party's weekly message comes from Congressman Parker Griffith of the Southern state of Alabama, a retired physician who recently switched from the Democratic Party to the Republican.

"In the next 10 days, Democrats in Washington will try and jam through a massive government takeover of health care.  It would raise taxes, slash Medicare benefits and destroy American jobs.  It would put federal bureaucrats in charge of medical decisions that should be made by patients and doctors, and it must be stopped," he said.

The president again rejects the Republicans' demand that he start over, and says it is time to act. "But you know what?  The insurance companies aren't starting over.  I just met with some of them on Thursday and they couldn't give me a straight answer as to why they keep arbitrarily and massively raising premiums - by as much as 60% in states like Illinois.  If we do not act, they will continue to do this," said Mr. Obama.

The entire House of Representatives and one-third of the Senate will be up for election in November.  Passing a health-care overhaul would give Democrats a domestic accomplishment on which they could campaign.  It would also move health reform off the agenda and allow the president to concentrate on voters' main concern, the economy.

Mr. Obama is also expressing urgency on the issue because he will leave on March 18 for a week-long trip to Indonesia and Australia.  White House officials have said they expect health reform to pass before then, and that there will be no need to postpone the trip. 

You May Like

Hong Kong Democracy Calls Spread to Macau

Macau and Hong Kong are China’s two 'special administrative regions' which gives them a measure of autonomy More

After Nearly 2 Years, Pistorius Remains Elusive

Reporter Anita Powell reflects on her experience covering the Olympic athlete's murder trial More

Kenyan Coastal Town Struggles With Deadly June Attacks

Three months after al-Shabab militants allegedly attacked their town, some Mpeketoni residents are still bitter, question who was really behind the assaults More

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Obama to Ramp Up Anti-Ebola Efforts in Africai
Luis Ramirez
September 15, 2014 11:01 PM
President Barack Obama on Tuesday will unveil his plan to ramp up efforts against the spread of the Ebola virus in Africa. VOA White House Correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Obama to Ramp Up Anti-Ebola Efforts in Africa

President Barack Obama on Tuesday will unveil his plan to ramp up efforts against the spread of the Ebola virus in Africa. VOA White House Correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.

Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More