U.S. President Barack Obama is spending several days promoting his
health insurance reform proposal to skeptical lawmakers and a skeptical
American public. Opposition Republicans say the president is moving
In his weekly address, President Obama tells
several anecdotes that he says illustrate the need to reform the way
Americans pay for medical care.
"It's about a woman in
Colorado who told us that when she was diagnosed with breast cancer,
her insurance company-the one she had paid over $700 a month to-refused
to pay for her treatment. She had to use up her retirement funds to
save her own life," he said.
Mr. Obama also says health care is an issue that affects the stability of the entire U.S. economy.
Democrats in Congress have expressed opposition to parts of the
president's initiative. Some lawmakers from both parties have asked
for more time to discuss it.
Senator Jon Kyl, in the weekly
Republican message, says Mr. Obama is trying to speed his plan through
Congress to avoid scrutiny.
"But the president and some
Democrats insist we must rush this plan through. Why? Because the
more Americans know about it, the more they oppose it. Something this
important needs to be done right, rather than being done quickly," he
The president will spend much of the next few days trying
to sell his plan to Congress and to the American people. He will hold
a nationally televised press conference on Wednesday, at which he is
expected to discuss his health reform proposal. And on Thursday, he
will take his campaign to an audience in Cleveland, Ohio.
Obama is likely to tell the audience that opponents of his reform
proposal are acting out of a vested interest in the current state of
"We know the same special interests and their
agents in Congress will make the same old arguments, and use the same
scare tactics that have stopped reform before because they profit from
this relentless escalation in health care costs," he said.
Kyl says one of Republicans' biggest objections to the plan is its cost
and its potential effects on the nation's deficit.
would increase spending by more than $2 trillion when fully
implemented, and would, according to the non-partisan Congressional
Budget Office, add additional costs onto an already unsustainable
system," he said.
But Mr. Obama is assuring Americans that his
proposal will help strengthen the U.S. economy, and not expand the
deficit, which is estimated at $1 trillion.
"I want to be very
clear: I will not sign on to any health plan that adds to our deficits
over the next decade. And by helping improve quality and efficiency,
the reforms we make will help bring out deficits under control in the
long term," he said.
Health reform legislation has passed two
committees in the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives. It
does not appear likely that the full House will vote on the proposal
before it recesses in August, as Democratic leaders had hoped.
The U.S. is the only major industrialized democracy without a comprehensive government health insurance program.
Saturday, the president spoke by telephone with Indonesia's President
Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. Mr. Obama congratulated his counterpart on
his July 8 re-election, and expressed support for and solidarity with
his government after Friday's terrorist attacks in Jakarta. The
president offered U.S. government support for the Indonesian
investigation of the incident.