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

Video Russia’s Syrian Escalation Tests Obama’s Crisis Response

Critics once again question whether president has been slow to act on Syrian conflict, thus creating opening for powers like Russia More

Ancient African DNA Shows Mass Migration Back Into Africa

First genetic analysis of ancient human remains in Africa suggests massive migration from north around time of Egyptian empire More

NASA: Pluto Has Blue Sky

New photos also reveal the presence of water ice 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.
Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugeesi
Henry Ridgwell
October 08, 2015 8:02 PM
Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

VOA Blogs