Obama on Health Care Bill: ‘Senators Ought to Allow an Up or Down Vote’

December 19, 2009

(ChattahBox)— In President Obama’s weekly address, he took aim at insurance lobbyists spending millions to defeat health reform and the Republican minority who are doing the insurance lobbyists’ bidding, by using “parliamentary maneuvers” to kill the bill. He demanded that the obstructionist minority get out of the way and allow a full up-or-down vote on health reform, to “bring this long and vigorous debate to an end.” Obama also compared both the House and Senate health care bills to a patient’s bill of rights measure that failed to pass into law for decades, because of the intense pressure on Congress from special interests.

Obama also targeted lawmakers in the Democratic caucus who have threatened to vote against cloture, which would stop the bill from reaching the floor for a vote and allow the Republicans to filibuster and kill health reform.

The President took pains to push back against some progressives, who are dissapointed in the removal of the public option and the Medicare buy-in, which would have provided real competition to the greedy insurance industry. But Obama pointed out that the reforms remaining in the two bills are substantial and historic:

“The last time a Patient’s Bill of Rights was within reach was roughly a decade ago, and it was supported by Democrats and Republicans alike, from Ted Kennedy to John McCain.” … “Now, this Patient’s Bill of Rights never made it into law. It fell victim – again and again – to the same special interest lobbying that has blocked passage of health insurance reform for so many decades.” […]

“Simply put, the protections currently included in both the health insurance reform bill passed by the House and the version currently on the Senate floor would represent the toughest measures we’ve ever taken to hold the insurance industry accountable. Anyone who says otherwise simply hasn’t read the bills.”

Obama noted that the current bills would bar the previous practices of recesssion, pre-existing conditions and they would control costs by limiting out-of-pocket payments and putting an end to exorbitant premiums.

And he pointed to the millions spent by insurance lobbyists to kill the bill. But the Senate now has a majority of Senators who are willing to stand up to the powerful lobbyists:

“The insurance industry knows all this. That’s why they’re at it again, using their muscle in Washington to try to block a vote they know they will lose.” …”They want to preserve a system that works better for the insurance industry than it does for the American people.”

Obama adressed the parliamentary stunts of Republicans:

“But now – for the first time – there is a clear majority in the Senate that’s willing to stand up to the insurance lobby and embrace lasting health insurance reforms that have eluded us for generations. The question is whether the minority that opposes these reforms will continue to use parliamentary maneuvers to try and stop the Senate from voting on them.”

And to the Senators in the Democratic caucus who would deny their colleagues and Americans an up-or down vote on health reform:

“Whatever their position on health insurance reform, Senators ought to allow an up-or-down vote. Let’s bring this long and vigorous debate to an end. Let’s deliver on the promise of health insurance reforms that will make our people healthier, our economy stronger, and our future more secure.”

The full text of Obama’s weekly address can be found here.


One Response to “Obama on Health Care Bill: ‘Senators Ought to Allow an Up or Down Vote’”

  1. libhomo on December 19th, 2009 11:53 pm

    The Senate bill is not a healthcare bill. It is nothing but a wealthcare bill for the HMOs and health insurers.

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