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

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Judge Declares Washington DC Ban on Public Handguns Unconstitutional

Ruling overturns capital city's prohibition on carrying guns in pubic More

Pricey Hepatitis C Drug Draws Criticism

Activists are using the International AIDS Conference to criticize drug companies for charging high prices for life-saving therapies 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.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid