Obama lays out $1 trillion health care reform

President Barack Obama

President Barack Obama issued his own blueprint for a health care overhaul on Monday, challenged Republicans to come forward with their ideas and laid the groundwork for an aggressive parliamentary maneuver to pass the legislation.

The 10-year, $1 trillion plan, like the current Democratic version in the Senate, would bring health insurance to more than 31 million Americans who now lack it. Government insurance wouldn’t be included, a problem for Democratic progressives. Republicans are skeptical about where the money would come from — and about Obama’s claim that the plan wouldn’t raise the federal deficit.

The plan is supposed to be the starting point for Obama’s televised, bipartisan health care summit Thursday. Yet Republicans were quick to dismiss it as a meld of two Democratic bills the public doesn’t want. Democrats, while reaffirming their commitment to major changes, reacted cautiously, mindful that Obama is asking them to stake their political fortunes in the fall elections.

Obama appeared intent on forcing the Republicans into a choice: either put a specific alternative on the table, giving Democrats a chance to draw pointed contrasts between the parties’ approaches, or be cast as obstructionist.

The initial Republican response suggested that the two parties are more likely headed toward a showdown than toward a deal.

Rep. John A. Boehner of Ohio, the House Republican leader, said Obama had “crippled the credibility” of Thursday’s meeting by proposing “the same massive government takeover of health care” that Americans had already rejected.

Source: The Detroit News

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