Obama takes lead on health reform

Pushing back against Republican opposition to health reform, President Obama this week launched a national campaign for urgent passage of health reform proposals in Congress.

'Now there are some in this town who are content to perpetuate the status quo, and who are in fact fighting reform on behalf of powerful special interests,' Obama pointed out in remarks at Children's National Medical Center in Washington, July 20. 'There are others who recognize the problem but believe or perhaps hope that we can put off the hard work of insurance reform for another day.'

The president quoted one Republican, whom he did not identify, who suggested obstructionism on health reform could 'break' Obama and be his 'Waterloo.'

'This isn't about me. This isn't about politics,' the president fired back. 'This is about a health care system that is breaking America's families, breaking America's businesses and breaking America's economy.'

Obama warned that taking the easy way out in order to satisfy 'the politics of the moment' will only bring more harm to American working families.

The health reform bill that will be signed into law, President Obama pledged, will be deficit neutral and will control costs of health care over the long term. Major committees in both the House and Senate have passed health reform bills and the White House says a final bill should be ready to vote on before the August recess.

The president's drive for health reform won a major endorsement last week when the American Medical Association (AMA) announced it would back the bill being prepared for a vote in the House. Other professional associations, including the American Academy of Family Practitioners, the American Academy of Pediatricians, the National Physician's Alliance, the Committee of Interns and Residents and the Doctors Council of SEIU Healthcare and the Student National Medical Association have all expressed strong support for the president's health reform package.

In addition to today's event, which was broadcast live on the White House website as well as television, over the weekend President Obama made passage of health reform the subject of his weekly address. This coming week, he will make scheduled stops in different parts of the country urging quick congressional action.