President Barack Obama is traveling the country to rally support for his plan to reform the U.S. health care system. The president on Thursday took his campaign to a public forum near the midwestern city of Cleveland, Ohio.
With a growing number of Americans skeptical about his health care overhaul plan and with the proposal hitting roadblocks in Congress, President Obama made his pitch to the American people.
"We can rescue our economy," said President Obama. "We can rebuild it stronger than before. We can achieve quality, affordable health care for every single American. That is what we are called upon to do. That is what we will do, with your help, Ohio."
The United States is the only major industrialized country without a comprehensive national health care system. The president is seeking fundamental changes in the nation's $2.4 trillion system of medical care.
Before an estimated 1,600 people in the Cleveland suburb of Shaker Heights, Mr. Obama again stressed that reforming health care cannot wait.
"We spend one of every six of our dollars on health care in America, and that is on track to double in the next three decades," said Mr. Obama.
While Mr. Obama campaigns for health care reform, top Democratic lawmakers in Congress have abandoned their plans to meet the president's deadline for approving his initiative. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says senators will not vote on the plan before their August recess, as Mr. Obama had wanted. Reid cautioned that more work is needed to devise the right plan.
The president told Ohio residents that he also wants to get it right, but that he wants it done promptly.
"I have no problem, if I think people are really working through these difficult issues in making sure that we get it right," he said. "But I do not want a delay just because of politics."
Mr. Obama described those who take issue with his plan to reform health care as "naysayers and skeptics". Both Democrats and Republicans in Congress have expressed concern about the cost of the plan, which some experts put at far more than the $1 trillion dollars estimated by the White House.
Despite Mr. Obama's almost daily efforts to build support for his proposed health care overhaul, resistance seems to be building. A recent Associated Press poll shows that 43 percent of Americans disapprove of the president's health care initiative, compared with 28 percent in April.