Obama Strikes Back On Health Care: 'Need For Reform Is Urgent'


President Obama pledged that any health care bill he signed would lower overall costs. Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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Continuing his wall-to-wall campaign for overhauling health care, President Obama made his case today from Children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C.

Obama spoke directly to the American people, sounding a populist call for Congress to pass legislation remaking health insurance:

"For the average American, it will mean lower costs, more options, and coverage you can count on. It will save you and your family money if we have a more efficient health care system. You won't have to worry about being priced out of the market. You won't have to worry about one illness leading your family into financial ruin. You won't have to worry that you won't be able to afford treatment who gets sick."

The president spoke after days of back-and-forth with lawmakers, budget analysts and political players. The Congressional Budget Office director last week told Congress that the legislation now before legislators would add to the federal deficit over the next several years. The GOP has been criticizing the proposed changes as a dangerous "grand experiment."

Obama again declared the current system of health care — with spending on medical expenses taking up 17 percent of U.S. gross domestic product — as a threat to the economy. He warned that if lawmakers do nothing, "businesses will shutter" and Americans will bring less money home in their paychecks.

Obama also struck back at a comment from Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), saying:

"Just the other day, one Republican senator said — and I'm quoting him now — 'If we're able to stop Obama on this, it will be his Waterloo. It will break him.' Think about that. This isn't about me. This isn't about politics. This is about a health care system that is breaking America's families, breaking America's businesses and breaking America's economy."



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