President Obama addresses nation over healthcare reform - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL

President Obama addresses nation over healthcare reform

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WBRC) - President Obama says he is tired of the "noise" surrounding the healthcare debate and he is ready to take a more active role in pushing for sweeping reforms to the healthcare system.
   
In his 45-minute congressional address, President Obama said he wasn't the first president to take on this issue, but he plans to be the last.
    
The President said his plan has 3 goals. Making sure those who have insurance they like can keep it, providing coverage to the millions who don't have it, and making tough choices to slow down the rising cost of healthcare.
    
Obama pledged that any healthcare plan he signs won't add to the nation's soaring budget deficits, a major concern in recent public polls.
    
On the issue of a so-called public option, the president said it would be a good idea to create a government-sponsored health option, but said he would be open to other ideas that would provide alternatives for consumers. He stopped short of demanding it be included in any reform plan.

"For example some have suggested the public option go into effect only in those markets where insurance companies aren't providing affordable options," Obama said. "Others have proposed a co-op or another nonprofit entity to administer the plan. These are all ideas worth exploring. But I will not back down on the principal that if Americans can't find affordable coverage, we will provide you a choice."

The President did make an effort to reach out to Republicans on issues they favor like reforming medical malpractice law to try and limit costs to doctors. He also said 80% of his plan is agreed on by everyone, a contention Republicans dispute.
    
Republican Representative Spencer Bachus (R-Vestavia Hills) told
FOX6 News this plan won't work and he wants to slow down and start over.
   
"I think the President has the chance to start over with a new plan, and that'll include addressing what's wrong with the system---pre-existing conditions, portability, medical malpractice," Bachus said. "But if he continues to insist on government-run healthcare that will be disappointing because that's a non-starter with me and with the overwhelming majority of my constituents."

The biggest hurdle that may have to be cleared in this debate will be over the so-called public option. Democrats in the House say healthcare reform won't pass without it, Senate leaders say a plan with the public option can't pass there.
   
The President plans to meet with a group of senators tomorrow to continue his lobbying efforts.

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