Obama also said that lowering healthcare costs remains a key plank to his reform platform, adding that his plan would not add to the nation's debt load.
“I am not the first president to take up this cause, but I am determined to be the last,” he said.
Part of what's being touted as the “Obama Plan” includes a provision—set to kick in almost immediately—that protects uninsurable individuals from catastrophic healthcare costs.
“It's a plan that asks everyone to take responsibility for meeting this challenge—not just government and insurance companies, but employers and individuals,” he said.
Obama also plans to implement a number of pilot programs as a means to examine ways to reform the medical tort process.
The speech comes at a critical turn for Obama's presidency. On a daily basis, opponents of the Democratic-led effort to reshape the nation's healthcare system have landed blow after blow, stealing momentum away from the White House and chipping away at approval ratings at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue.
Not coincidentally, Obama's speech dovetailed with renewed action from the chairman of the last—and most critical—Senate panel to craft a bill.
On Wednesday, Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee and the leader of a small group of bipartisan negotiators, said that he would release a sweeping reform bill next week in an effort to pass legislation by year's end.
While Obama did not push a deadline, he nevertheless stressed the importance of moving forward.
“I will not waste time with those who have made the calculation that it's better politics to kill this plan than to improve it,” he said. “I won't stand by while the special interests use the same old tactics to keep things exactly the way they are.”
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