Obama to Stress Areas of Agreement in Health Debate

Posted July 22, 2009 at 4:02pm

President Barack Obama, in his opening statement at Wednesday’s prime-time press conference, will emphasize the progress that has been made so far on health care reform and the areas of agreement among participants in the debate, according to White House officials.Obama has been rocked in recent weeks by slow going on Capitol Hill, particularly in the Senate, where legislation that was supposed to emerge from the Finance Committee by July 4 remains bottled up. Business officials and some health industry groups whom Obama courted earlier in the year are lining up to oppose his proposals, particularly a plan for a government insurance option.But the White House has not given up on getting a bill done in the House by the August recess and continues to hold out hope that something will appear on the Senate floor as well before Senators leave town.Obama in recent days has been making near-daily appearances to tout his initiative.“The urgent need for health insurance reform and the emerging consensus on Capitol Hill about what that reform should look like leave the president feeling optimistic that he’s on track, after his first six months in office, to fulfill his promise to sign a health care reform bill before the end of the year,— White House Deputy Press Secretary Joshua Earnest said. “The president will use tonight’s primetime news conference to speak directly to the American people about why health insurance reform is central to the long-term stability of our economy and the financial security of our families and businesses,— Earnest said. “He’ll point out that there’s already consensus around reform that will lower costs, promote choice, and provide coverage that every American can count on.— In their questioning, reporters are also likely to focus on the economy, the war in Afghanistan and the nuclear programs of Iran and North Korea.