News / Health

Obama to Make Final Health Reform Appeal to House Democrats

Kent Klein

U.S. President Barack Obama goes to Capitol Hill a short time from now (3:05 p.m. EDT) for a last-minute appeal to pass major health-care reform legislation. Democrats say they are approaching the number of votes they need for passage, as Sunday's vote looms.

President Obama is pressing hard for House of Representatives passage of the health-care reform bill.  His Saturday afternoon meeting with Democratic Party lawmakers follows dozens of telephone calls over the past few days seeking their support.

Mr. Obama has also held several rallies seeking the public's support, like the one Friday in Fairfax, Virginia.

"The time for reform is now.  We have waited long enough.  We have waited long enough.  And in just a few days, a century-long struggle will culminate in a historic vote," he said.

Reforming the U.S. health-insurance system is the centerpiece of Mr. Obama's domestic agenda, and is vital to his political fortunes.  The president has twice postponed a visit to Indonesia and Australia - now scheduled for June - to lobby for the bill's passage and possibly sign it into law.

Top House Democrats have said they do not yet have the 216 votes they need to pass Mr. Obama's proposal.  But they say they are close and moving closer.

Republicans remain solidly against the legislation.  The top House Republican, Minority Leader John Boehner, says in the party's weekly radio and Internet address the American people have made it clear that they oppose this bill.

"We have seen standing-room only crowds at town meetings, rallies in towns and cities across the country, and now jammed phone lines on Capitol Hill, all of this coming from citizens yelling 'Stop!' at the top of their lungs," he said.

Separate versions of the plan were approved last year by both the House and Senate.  Boehner is objecting to the Democrats' plan to pass the Senate-approved bill without a direct vote, by packaging it with a separate measure of changes.

"Democrats are so afraid of the public's outrage, that they have devised a strategy that would allow them to force this massive bill through Congress without even voting on it.  It is outrageous, and it is an affront to the principles of representative democracy," he said.

The House Republican leader also says the president's health-care plan will increase taxes and lead to government intervention in individual health care decisions.

The independent Congressional Budget Office estimates the proposal will cost $940 billion in its first 10 years.  The agency says during that same time the bill will reduce the U.S. deficit by $130 billion, and cut more than $1 trillion from the national debt.

The legislation would extend health-care insurance to about 32 million Americans who do not have it.  It would require most Americans to have health insurance or pay a penalty.  And it would ban insurance companies from denying benefits for pre-existing medical conditions.

You May Like

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

1855 Slave Brochure Starkly Details Sale of Black Americans

Document lists entire families that were up for sale in New Orleans, offering graphic insight into the slavery trade More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
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.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs