Obama: ‘Time for us to come together’ and pass health reform
US President Barack Obama on Saturday called on Democrats and Republicans to overcome their differences on health care reform and act on his proposal without delay.
“It is time for us to come together,” Obama said in his weekly radio address. “It is time for us to act. It is time for those of us in Washington to live up to our responsibilities to the American people and to future generations.”
On Thursday, Obama held a high-stakes health care summit with top Republicans, but failed to break an impasse over his historic reform drive, prompting him to warn he would press on with or without Republican help.
Civility largely prevailed at the grueling day-long meeting, after Obama warned against “political theater”, but there was no breakthrough on sharp ideological disputes threatening to suffocate his ambitious presidency.
Obama’s plan to provide health insurance to millions of uninsured Americans stalled in Congress early this year, after Democrats lost a Senate seat to Republicans as a result of a special election in Massachusetts to replace the late senator Edward Kennedy.
The setback resulted in the loss by Democrats of a 60-vote filibuster-proof majority necessary these days to pass most legislation in the upper chamber.
All Senate Republicans have been steadfast in their opposition to the health reform plan.
Obama said in the address that at the summit, he had heard some Republican ideas that were “very worthy of consideration.”
But he admitted that the two sides had disagreed over whether insurance companies should be held accountable for denying care or raising premiums, and over giving tax credits to small businesses and individuals.
“Some of these disagreements we may be able to resolve,” argued the president. “Some we may not. And no final bill will include everything that everyone wants. That’s what compromise is.”
But he insisted Washington politicians could not lose this opportunity to move forward.
“The tens of millions of men and women who cannot afford their health insurance cannot wait another generation for us to act,” Obama said.
This video was published to the Web by the White House on Saturday, Feb. 27, 2010.