From Jordyn Phelps and Sunlen Miller:
“Let’s go finish the job,” President Obama said in his weekly address focused on health care reform.
Saying that debate in Congress is approaching its final days, the president drew attention to Republican leaders who have come out in support reform – California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, and the secretary of Health and Human Services under former President George W. Bush, Tommy Thompson.
“These distinguished leaders understand that health insurance reform isn’t a Democratic issue or a Republican issue, but an American issue that demands a solution,” the president said.
The Senate Finance committee is set to conclude its debate on the legislation next week. The Finance Committee’s legislation will then have to be merged with the other versions of the bill that have been produced by other Congressional committees.
The president said there’s no doubt that the reform package has been strengthened by all the debate over “the better part of a year.”
Again, he said that he believes the legislation includes bipartisan ideas.
“The approach that is emerging includes the best ideas from Republicans and Democrats, and people across the political spectrum,” Obama said.
Citing a report by the Congressional Budget Office, Obama said the Finance Committee’s bill will not add to the national deficit and will bring about greater health care security to insured and uninsured Americans alike by slowing the growth in health care costs and putting new insurance protections in place.
He also addressed those in Washington who, the president said, are still working to score political points by maintaining the status quo even late in the debate.
“A status quo of rising health care costs that are crushing our families, our businesses and our government,” the president said. “A status quo of diminishing coverage that is denying millions of hardworking Americans the insurance they need. A status quo that gives big insurance companies the power to make arbitrary decisions about your health care.”
The president added that this sort of status quo is unacceptable.
“That is a status quo I reject," he said. "And that is a status quo the American people reject.”
The president concluded his address by saying that reform is in the near future and, in essence, he called on Congress to reach the finish line.
“That future is within our grasp,” the president said. “So, let’s go finish the job.”
-Jordyn Phelps and Sunlen Miller