News

White House says America on 'Verge' of Health Care Reform

One big hurdle remains before the needed legislation can be signed into law.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs (file photo)
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs (file photo)

Multimedia

Audio

The White House says the American people are on the "verge" of health-care reform.  One big hurdle remains before the needed legislation can be signed into law.

This may be the most difficult part of all.

When Congress returns in the new year, negotiators for the House and Senate will begin the tough task of merging their different versions of health-care reform legislation into one bill the president can sign.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs (file photo)
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs (file photo)

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs is optimistic. "I think the American people are on the verge of a very big win in health care reform early in the next year," he said.

He told the NBC television program Meet the Press that both the Senate and House versions of the bill achieve the main goal set by the president: making health care more affordable and accessible for all Americans.

"The major parts of health-care reform that the president sought to have enacted as a candidate are now very close to happening and he thinks the commonality between the two proposals overlaps quite a bit," said Gibbs.

But they differ on one major point.  Most Americans now pay for health care through private insurance.  The House wants a government-run health care program to compete in the insurance marketplace.   The Senate does not.

Senator Robert Menendez - a New Jersey Democrat - served for many years in the House and has some advice for his former colleagues.

He spoke on the Fox News Sunday television program. "I am sure there will be some compromises but at the end of the day, I would expect that it would look very much like the Senate version," said Menendez.

Republicans maintain both versions of the bills are bad.  All the members of the minority party voted against the Senate measure, and only one supported the legislation passed in the House.

South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint told Fox News that the fight over health-care reform is far from over.  "And the only think worse than the policy itself has been the process that the Democrats have followed to get this passed," he said.

He said special deals were struck with some Democratic Senators to get them to support the bill.

Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter - who switched parties from Republican to Democrat earlier this year - says the Democratic Party leadership had no choice.

"I think the process was very bad, but the process was really caused in large measure by the refusal of Republicans to deal in any way," he said.

Specter also appeared on Fox News Sunday.  

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.
Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugeesi
X
Carolyn Weaver
July 06, 2015 6:47 PM
In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.

VOA Blogs