More Delays? House Health Care Bill Vote May Not Come Until Sunday

Health Care Before Economy?

Some GOP lawmakers argue that the administration should put the economy ahead of health care, especially given the record unemployment figures released today.

Video of protesters outside of Senator Joe Liebermans office, backing a universal health care system.
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"I have never seen greater evidence that Washington, D.C. is out of touch with the American people than the fact that Democrats are going to continue in their headlong rush to pass a government takeover of health care in the wake of rising unemployment in this nation," House Republican Conference Chairman Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., said today.

The jobless figures released today were higher than what economists expected, which could give some conservative Blue Dog Democrats, who had initially expressed concern about the costs of health care overhaul, a reason to re-think the health care bill.

Obama reiterated today that he will not "let up until the Americans who want to find work can find work," but it remains to be seen whether those words will be of any comfort to weary Democrats.

The House bill is expected to cost $1.2 trillion over the next ten years. That figure is above the $900 billion threshold set by the president, but proponents argue that it won't add to the deficit.

House Democrats got a boost yesterday from support of several influential organizations -- the AARP and the American Medical Association -- but they were also met by an overwhelming number of protestors who came from across the U.S. northeast to protest the overhaul.

The American Medical Association announced Thursday that it will back the House bill, but warned that much more work needs to be done.

The legislation is "not a perfect representation of AMA views but consistent with our goals to warrant our support to keep the process moving," American Medical Association President James Rohack said in a conference call to reporters.

"This legislation isn't perfect but this debate is not over," Rohack said.

When asked whether the organization has lost any members -- many doctors and medical organizations are opposed to some provisions in the bill -- Rohack said some members have indicated they will drop out but others have said they will join the association.

AARP Backs House Democrats Health Care Bill

The AARP, which boasts some 40 million members and also faced backlash for its support of the legislation, also on Thursday officially endorsed the House Democratic health care bill, saying it would close the coverage gap in Medicare prescription benefits, put strict limits on what health insurers can charge older workers too young for Medicare and create a voluntary, long-term care insurance program.

"We cannot continue to let insurers price older Americans out of the market, just as we cannot stand idle while millions of seniors are forced to choose between their groceries and their prescriptions," AARP chief executive Barry Rand said in a statement. "AARP is proud to endorse the Affordable Health Care for America Act and the Medicare Physician Payment Reform Act, and we urge members of the House to pass this critical package in the coming days to help fix our broken health care system."

The endorsement from what is considered to be the most influential seniors' lobby comes at a time when many seniors are concerned about the impact of Democrats' legislation on their health care plans. The House bill calls for steep cuts in Medicare.

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