Obama Asks Congress to Pass Health Reform Bill Soon

Janice Simmons, for HealthLeaders Media , March 3, 2010

President Obama, saying it was neither "practical nor realistic" to go back to square one with healthcare reform as suggested by the GOP, is asking Congress to move ahead on healthcare—using a simple majority vote—and provide him with a bill that he could sign within the next few weeks.

In a speech Wednesday, Obama said the current reform legislation pending in Congress would:

  • End insurance companies' practices of pre-existing condition restrictions, coverage rescissions, and caps on expenses, in addition to "big annual increases" sought by insurers annually.

  • Provide better coverage and better insurance rates.

  • Offer uninsured and business owners "with the same [health insurance] choices that Congress and those at the federal level" enjoy.

He said the legislation, which would cost more than $100 billion a year, would mirror what is in the Senate bill and bring costs down through with a variety of fees on device and pharmaceutical manufacturers, and additional Medicare taxes.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnnell (R-KY), commenting later, said every election in November will turn into a referendum on the health reform issue. He added that the Democratic majority and administration are being "arrogant" about moving forward with the reconciliation issue, and that the bill will not pass the House.

Janice Simmons is a senior editor and Washington, DC, correspondent for HealthLeaders Media Online. She can be reached at jsimmons@healthleadersmedia.com.

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