Obama Says History Will Be Made On Health Care

On the eve of a Senate vote that seems all but certain to deliver a historic victory on health overhaul to Democrats, President Obama defended the trade-offs made to get legislation this far and the way it will be financed.

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Obama talks with reporters about health care earlier this week. Jewel Samad/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Jewel Samad/Getty Images

Obama talks with reporters about health care earlier this week.

Jewel Samad/Getty Images

In a Wednesday interview with NPR's Robert Siegel and Julie Rovner at the White House, Obama came out in favor of the Senate's proposal to levy a tax on so-called Cadillac insurance plans to help pay the tab for the health care expansion:

[T]axing Cadillac plans that don't make people healthier, but just take more money out of their pockets because they're paying more for insurance than they need to, that's actually a good idea and that helps bend the cost curve; that helps to reduce the cost of health care over the long term. I think that's a smart thing to do.

Obama acknowledged that tough negotiations lie ahead to harmonize Senate and House bills, but he reckoned that the bills differ only by about 5 percent.

He also reflected on the difficulties of bringing health overhaul to this point and took obvious pride in the accomplishment. Listen as he explains:



In a recent interview with the Washington Post, Obama said his support for the Senate health bill is "enthusiastic," not grudging, despite the compromises made to forge a 60-vote filibuster-proof majority.

Sure, there's no government-run public option to speak of and even a Medicare buy-in went by the wayside. The absence of a public option has inflamed liberals, who criticized the president for backing down from campaign promises. He told the Post, he'd never campaigned for that, an assertion backed by MSNBC.

Accentuating the positive in his NPR interview, Obama said about 30 million people without insurance would be covered as a result of overhaul. Soon after passage, he said, new protections against insurance company abuses would provide greater security to people who already have coverage.



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