President Barack Obama used his weekly radio address Saturday to claim widespread support for his health care initiative, seeking to create a sense of inevitability that an overhaul will happen.
“Now, as the debate draws to a close, we can point to a broad and growing coalition of doctors and nurses, workers and businesses, hospitals and even drug companies — folks who represent different parties and perspectives, including leading Democrats and many leading Republicans — who recognize the urgency of action,— Obama said. “Just this week, the Senate Finance Committee approved a reform proposal that has both Democratic and Republican support.—
The president urged backers to stay focused as the debate enters its last stretch. The White House is working with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) to come up with a final Senate bill to bring to the floor while House leaders work to fashion a final version of their overhaul.
“This is not the time to pat ourselves on the back,— Obama said. “This is not the time to grow complacent. There are still significant details and disagreements to be worked out in the coming weeks.—
Obama assailed insurers at length, seeking to pre-empt the growing effort by the industry to derail his initiative.
“The insurance industry is rolling out the big guns and breaking open their massive war chest — to marshal their forces for one last fight to save the status quo,— he said. “They’re filling the airwaves with deceptive and dishonest ads. They’re flooding Capitol Hill with lobbyists and campaign contributions. And they’re funding studies designed to mislead the American people.—
In the GOP’s weekly address, given by Rep. Kevin Brady of Texas, Republicans hammered away at Obama on jobs, health care and the deficit.
“There are three big myths hurtling around Washington these days: No jobs equals an economic recovery, government-run health care will make it more affordable, and deficits don’t matter,— Brady said. “The American public — to their credit — isn’t buying any of these.—
Brady demanded, “Mr. President, where are the jobs?— He reminded the White House of its prediction earlier this year that the stimulus bill would keep the unemployment rate under 8 percent. It currently hovers near 10 percent.
“The truth is: No jobs. No recovery,— Brady said. “Let’s finally admit America’s recovery can’t be built on the unsteady Democratic doctrine of spending more, borrowing more and higher taxes.—
Brady charged that the health care plans being written mainly by Democrats would lead to government-run health care.
“The massive health care plans being crafted behind closed doors in Washington as we speak will ultimately allow the government to decide what doctors we can see, what treatments the government thinks you deserve and what medicines you can receive,— he said.
And Brady, who sits on the Ways and Means Committee, asserted that the sum of Democratic policies would add up to surging deficits.
“Whether it’s wasteful stimulus spending, a cap-and-trade national energy tax that will put millions more out of work or the trillion-dollar health care experiment Democrats in Washington are boring new holes to our economic ship at a time when employers throughout America need a life preserver to help them stay afloat,— Brady said.