The story appears on

Page A3

September 21, 2009

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » World

Obama blitzes television in bid to sell health plan

UNITED States President Barack Obama yesterday launched a TV broadcast blitz to build public support for his top domestic priority, a remake of the American health care system, the fate of which now rests in the hands of a pivotal but deeply divided Senate committee.
Obama became the first president to appear on five Sunday network talk and public affairs shows in the same morning in an extraordinary effort to defend his health care overhaul which has come under intense attack from opposition Republicans.
The interviews with ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN and the Hispanic network Univision were taped on Friday at the White House.
Obama is visiting David Letterman tonight, the first appearance by a sitting president on "The Late Show."
The media push leads up to tomorrow, when members of the Senate Finance Committee plan to start voting on their version of a health care reform bill.
Democrats on the committee are disappointed with the bill proposed by the chairman, Senator Max Baucus of Montana. Republicans see a chance to deliver a blow to Obama that could cripple his presidency.
The 23-member committee is a microcosm of the Senate, the narrow gate through which legislation to cover the nearly 50 million uninsured Americans and try to control medical costs has to pass.
If the committee can't produce, then the ability of Obama and the Democrats to pass a bill this year will be in serious question.
Obama tried to quell criticism of a key point of the Baucus plan and other health care bills now before Congress: mandating that people get health insurance to share the cost fairly among all.
Those who fail to get coverage face financial penalties.
Obama said other elements of the plan would make insurance affordable for people, from establishing a new comparison-shopping "exchange" to offering tax credits.
Telling people to get health insurance is absolutely not a tax increase, Obama told ABC's "This Week."
"What it's saying is that we're not going to have other people carrying your burdens for you any more," Obama said. "Right now everybody in America, just about, has to get auto insurance. Nobody considers that a tax increase."
Obama faces an enormous political and communications challenge in selling his health care plan.
He told CBS' "Face the Nation" he would keep his pledge not to raise taxes on families earning up to US$250,000, and that much of the final bill - hundreds of billions of dollars over the next 10 years - can be achieved from savings within the current system. Coming up with the rest remains a key legislative obstacle.
Obama's goal is to expand and improve health insurance coverage and rein in long-term costs. The US is the only major industrialized nation without a universal health care program.
Yet despite so many weeks of speeches and interviews, Obama said he had found it difficult to make a complex topic clear and relevant.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend