President Barack Obama said he is ready to compromise with Republicans on healthcare if they are serious about it, but that an overhaul must go forward. "Let's get this done," he said.
Obama: Compromise on health if GOP is serious
Obama's comments in his weekly Internet and radio address, two days after an all-day bipartisan summit across from the White House, were the latest sign that Democrats are getting set to try to pass healthcare legislation without any Republicans on board. Success will require colossal efforts on the part of Obama and Democratic leaders to round up votes after a year of corrosive debate and a Senate special-election upset that threw the overhaul effort into limbo last month. But Obama and the Democrats reject the piecemeal approach sought by Republicans and have no intention of scrapping their 10-year, $1 trillion bill and starting over, as the GOP demands.
"I am eager and willing to move forward with members of both parties on healthcare if the other side is serious about coming together to resolve our differences and get this done. But I also believe that we cannot lose the opportunity to meet this challenge," Obama said. "The tens of millions of men and women who cannot afford their health insurance cannot wait another generation for us to act. Small businesses cannot wait. Americans with pre-existing conditions cannot wait. State and federal budgets cannot sustain these rising costs. "It is time for those of us in Washington to live up to our responsibilities to the American people and to future generations," Obama said.
Obama's legislation would insure some 30 million more Americans over 10 years with a new requirement for nearly everyone to carry insurance and would end insurance company practices such as denying coverage to people with medical problems. Obama plans to release an updated proposal in the week ahead, likely on Wednesday, according to press secretary Robert Gibbs.
One summit attendee, Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., was contacted Friday by the White House and asked to submit details of suggestions he made to tackle waste and fraud in the medical system, Coburn's spokesman said. John Hart said Coburn views Obama's legislation as a government takeover and would not be able to support it even if it includes some of his proposals. Coburn, in the GOP's weekly address, argued against a Democrats-only bill. "Unfortunately, even before the summit took place the majority in Congress signaled its intent to reject our offers to work together," Coburn said. "Instead they want to use procedural tricks and back-room deals to ram through a new bill that combines the worst aspects of the bills the Senate and House passed last year."
"The American people are telling us to scrap the current bills, which will lead to a government takeover of healthcare, and we should start over," Coburn said.
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