Obama: Now Is Time To Change Health Care

President Barack Obama told the nation Saturday his health care overhaul is financially sound, but a new analysis by congressional budget experts of emerging House legislation said it would increase deficits by $239 billion over a decade.

"I want to be very clear: I will not sign on to any health plan that adds to our deficits over the next decade," the president said in his weekly address. "And by helping improve quality and efficiency, the reforms we make will help bring our deficits under control in the long-term," he added.

It was the sixth consecutive day Obama sought to keep the focus on his chief domestic priority in the face of mounting resistance on Capitol Hill, including from conservative Democrats. Republicans also renewed their criticism.

The president's remarks were released late Friday, a few hours before an update by the Congressional Budget Office said the overall cost of the House bill would "result in a net increase in the federal budget deficit of $239 billion over the 2010-2019 period." The estimate included the cost of higher Medicare fees for doctors, an important ingredient of the measure for the American Medical Association. The AMA, which represents physicians, endorsed the bill late last week.

The CBO analysis said the bill would result in a reduction in the deficit from 2010-2014 before it began to add red ink in gradually increasing amounts for the next five years.

In a statement issued Saturday evening, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said the leadership did not intend to find savings to offset the estimated $245 billion cost of higher Medicare fees for doctors.

The money is not "increased spending for a new policy, but rather the costs of maintaining our existing policy to prevent a cut in physician rates," they said. Without a change, doctor fees would fall by 21 percent.

The statement said the legislation taking shape "is deficit neutral for all of the increased costs from new and expanded programs under the health reform section" of the bill.

Administration officials did not respond to a request for comment on whether that complied with Obama's vow that health care overhaul would not add to the deficit.

Obama has said consistently the current drive for health care could be the last for the foreseeable future if it does not succeed.

"This is what the debate in Congress is all about: whether we'll keep talking and tinkering and letting this problem fester as more families and businesses go under and more Americans lose their coverage," Obama said in his weekly radio and Internet address. "Or whether we'll seize this opportunity — one we might not have again for generations — and finally pass health insurance reform this year, in 2009."

Through the week, Obama tried to project confidence about his approach to cover millions of uninsured people. During a private meeting with Jewish leaders on Monday, he joked that the only thing more difficult than passing health care legislation might be negotiating Mideast peace.

At a late scheduled White House appearance Friday, he appealed to lawmakers not to "lose heart" and asked for deeper cost cuts to calm concern over the huge expense.

Republicans were not swayed.

"The president and some Democrats insist we must rush this plan through," said Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz. "Why? Because the more Americans know about it, the more they oppose it. Something this important needs to be done right, rather than done quickly."

Two House committees on Friday approved their parts of the bill over Republican objections. That left one more to act. But Democrats facing tough re-election bids or representing conservative districts demanded additional measures to hold down costs.

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  • by Anonymous on Jul 29, 2009 at 01:29 PM
    Derek, do you like Michael J Fox and Magic Johnson? With this new healtcare, they would not live this long....neither would you or I...Read this link; http://spectator.org/archives/2009/07/28/who-will-tell-michael-j-fox-he/1
  • by Obama Snake Oil Co Location: Washington on Jul 29, 2009 at 11:51 AM
    Derek, I might want to go to Canada with you. I just looked up more info on this and its really scary. This is not a compassionate, caring doctor, this is regulator for the state. It says if you are diagnosed with a terminal disease, you will be encouraged to go home and wait for hospice. Why do we go to doctors in the first place? I have gone to NC representives and just laid into them to revise this plan, don't vote on it until they read it. No wonder they don't want to join this plan, it stinking mean.
  • by Derek Location: Greenville on Jul 29, 2009 at 05:49 AM
    Then I would take them to Canada. The more I learn about this bill, the less I like it.
  • by Obama Snake Oil Co Location: Washington on Jul 29, 2009 at 05:20 AM
    Derek, I think to clarify the healthcare for this country is to understand one thousand sheets of the bill. Both houses haven't even read them to see what is in it. What I have read in the bill is that at age 60, you will be judged every five years for any major surgery. You will be encouraged to make a will to maintain healthcare. If they deem the treatment is too expensive, you will be denied. So, going to the hospitol for you plagued illness means, you may be recommended to go home and wait for hospice. Now, what if this was your father or mother?
  • by Derek Location: Greenville on Jul 28, 2009 at 11:31 AM
    Actually OSOC, I've mentioned that I have lived in three countries before. One of them was Canada, where most of my family resides. Everyone in my family thinks the health care is not perfect, but at the same time they still love it. It is true that some have travelled to the US to receive treatment, but they had to pay for it. If you can wait for a procedure, then it will be done. If not, your doctor will put you at the top of the list. A two-tiered system is perhaps a better model for healthcare, much like Australia. The point that I am trying to make is; yes it is not perfect, but at the same time, I would like to know that if I am plagued with an illness, I know that I will be taken care of. Why is it my fault if I can't afford to pay for something that I didn't ask for?
  • by Obama Snake Oil co Location: Washington on Jul 28, 2009 at 07:50 AM
    Derek, I am doubting you validity. Go to the web and see the truth. I have told you about an actual citizen that came to the US to get care. Please do your homework.
  • by Derek Location: Greenville on Jul 27, 2009 at 06:01 AM
    Funny thing Disgusted B, I've also talked to Canadians and they love their healthcare. Do your friends represent the other 33 million people that live there?
  • by Disgusted B Location: NC on Jul 26, 2009 at 04:26 PM
    talk to some Canadians if U really want to know what a "nationalized", government ran health care program is about. I have! They say, "run for your literal life"! The absolute worse thing this country can do!!! Please do not listen to more of Obama's garbage: "it's for the good of the people and the country jargon" !!!!
  • by BOB on Jul 26, 2009 at 01:49 PM
    TO all those that say we want Obama to fail because of his race- You could not be more wrong. I want him to fail because he's a far left liberal whose Ideas I don't agree with. Has absolutely nothing to do with his race. If Hillary were Pres I would be saying the same thing. If Condi Rice were president I would be standing behind her 110%. Those of you that are saying it's a race thing are trying to make it one when it's not. You guys are bringing race into this, not us. Grow Up guys. It's his political views that we don't like.
  • by med person Location: enc on Jul 26, 2009 at 03:29 AM
    FYI=PROPOSED PLAN INCLUDES: Quotas. by tracking the number of minority patients treated. This number will determine how much the hospital will receive. Never before has payment for services rendered been determined by the color of one's skin. The other things affected with this plan will be med schools, healthcare professsional education programs such as nursing schools etc. will be tracked for minority students which will determine the amt. of school's grants. Therefore. the color of one's skin will be the determining factor of one's admittance into medical school more than ever instead what should determine. that being INTELLECT, which is something that is falling short in DC these days! The other thing about this is that congressmen/women get to choose from 12 plans and they do not choose the proposed plan for themselves or their families. Not good enough for them but forcing it on us! If it took 6mos to choose a puppy for the White House, shouldn't it for deciding healthcare?

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