Obama Calls for Senate to Avoid “Parliamentary Measures” Blocking Health Care Reform

By Jennifer Parker

Dec 19, 2009 9:39am

From ABC News' Sunlen Miller:

President Obama calls on the Senate to avoid using “parliamentary maneuvers” to stand in the way of passing health care reform in his weekly address.

“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 President says in his weekly address, “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.”

After a week of hurdles in the Senate, and a weekend ahead of work for them, Mr. Obama says that whatever a senator's position is, they “ought to allow for an up or down vote.”

“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. And as this difficult year comes to a close, let’s show the American people that we are equal to the task of meeting our great challenges.

The President devotes a large amount of his weekly address to highlighting the patient protections in the House and Senate proposals in Congress, and noted that the last time a Patient Bill of Rights was within reach was in 2001 – which brought together Senators form both side of the isle – like Kennedy and McCain.

“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. But today, we are being given another chance to make it a reality, because each of these rights, and many more, are incorporated in the health insurance reform bill that recently passed the House of Representatives and in the bill that is currently making its way through the Senate.”

The President praised both the House and Senate version for representing “the toughest measures we’re ever taken to hold the insurance industry as accountable.”

“Anyone who says otherwise simply hasn’t read the bills. Just open these proposals at random and you’ll find on almost any page patient protections that dwarf any of those passed by Congress in at least a decade."

Mr. Obama ends his weekly address, the last before Christmas, saying, “and on behalf of Michelle, Malia, Sasha, and Bo, happy holidays, from our family to yours.”

-Sunlen Miller


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