Obama Says ‘Stars May Be Aligned’ This Time for Health Care Reform

By Lindsey Ellerson

May 22, 2009 5:59pm

ABC News’ Sunlen Miller reports: President Obama, who soon after choosing his Supreme Court justice will likely turn his sights to tackling health care, said Friday he believes the “stars may be aligned” to get something done on the outstanding reform of the nation’s health care system. “I really think that the stars may be aligned here,” President Obama told C-SPAN’s Steve Scully. “And we potentially can get it done if everybody comes at it with a spirit, not of ideological rigidity, but if they come at it with a sense that you know in a practical, hard headed way we can really negotiate and compromise and get something done for the American people.”Sitting down to a one-on-one interview in the White House library this afternoon, Obama spoke about the differences between his attempt at health care reform now and the botched attempt by the Clinton administration in 1993. “I think probably the biggest change politically is that businesses now recognize that if we don’t get a handle on this stuff, that they’re going to continue to be operating at a competitive disadvantage with other countries. And so they anxiously seek serious reform,” the president said, patting himself on the back for bringing many of the different stakeholders, doctors, nurses, insurance companies, and hospitals to the table to discuss the system’s lack of sustainability. In his first interview since his much-publicized speech at the National Archives on Thursday, President Obama reiterated his belief in closing Guantanamo Bay.”It’s a messy situation, it’s not easy. We’ve got a lot of people there who we should have tried early but we didn’t. In some cases, evidence against them has been compromised. They may be dangerous in which case we can’t release them and so finding how to deal with that I think is going to be one of our biggest problems.” The White House task force for Guantanamo Bay is still in the process of reviewing on a case-by-case basis each case – and will then make a decision where and when the detainees would be released. “I’m very confident that you know if we approach this in a way that isn’t trying to score political points but is trying to create a legal and institutional framework with checks and balances, respectful of due process, and rule of law, if we set up that system then there’s no reason why we can’t try either in a military commission or in a federal court people who have done us harm and also spend the bulk of our time preventing people from doing us harm in the first place.” Turning to the domestic agenda, the president also expressed confidence in his administration’s handling of the ailing auto industry and expressed confidence in GM going forward. “Had we allowed GM or Chrysler simply to liquidate that would be a huge anti-stimulus on the economic as a whole and could have dragged us even deeper into recession or even depression. Ultimately I think GM is going to be a strong company and we’re going to be pulling out as soon as the economy recovers and they have completed their restructuring.”Reiterating that he’s “got more than enough to do” without having to take care of the banks and the auto industry, President Obama said he wants to get out “as quickly as we can.” C-SPAN’s full interview with President Obama will air Saturday morning. – Sunlen Miller

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