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Obama takes health care road show to Ohio as vote looms

By BEN FELLER
March 15, 2010

(Reuters)

Still seeking votes for his proposed health care overhaul, President Barack Obama appears ready to reverse his position and allow unpopular deal-sweetening measures in the hopes of finding Democratic support for legislation whose future will be decided in coming days.

Increasingly eager to finish work on his top domestic priority, Obama was set to head to northeast Ohio on Monday with a final sales pitch for health care legislation that the top Democratic vote-counter in the House said lacked support to pass. Obama’s top political adviser, David Axelrod, said he was “absolutely confident” the measure would pass during a make-or-break week that already saw the president delay his trip to Indonesia, Australia and Guam.

“This is the week where we will have this important vote,” White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said. “I do think this is the climactic week for health care reform.”

Clinching support, though, might require Obama to back away from his insistence that senators purge the legislation of a number of lawmakers’ special deals.

Taking a new position, Axelrod said the White House only objects to state-specific arrangements, such as an increase in Medicaid funding for Nebraska, ridiculed as the “Cornhusker Kickback.” That’s being cut, but provisions that could affect more than one state are OK, Axelrod said.

That means deals sought by senators from Montana and Connecticut would be fine — even though Gibbs last week singled them out as items Obama wanted removed. There was resistance, however, from two committee chairman, Democratic Sens. Max Baucus of Montana and Chris Dodd of Connecticut, and the White House has apparently backed down.

Axelrod said the principles the White House wants to apply include “Are these applicable to all states? Even if they do not qualify now, would they qualify under certain sets of circumstances?”

Meanwhile, the White House tried to increase public pressure on Congress to pass the legislation. Obama planned to visit Strongsville, Ohio, home of cancer patient Natoma Canfield, who wrote the president she gave up her health insurance after it rose to $8,500 a year. Obama repeatedly has cited that letter from a self-employed cleaning worker who lives in the Cleveland suburb to illustrate the urgency of the massive overhaul.

Canfield’s sister, Connie Anderson, was scheduled to introduce Obama at that event.

Obama’s efforts, though, face an uphill challenge for legislation that would provide health insurance to tens of millions who currently have none and would ban insurance companies from denying coverage on the basis of pre-existing conditions. It would require most people to obtain insurance and would subsidize premiums for poor and middle-income Americans.

The House GOP leader, Ohio Rep. John Boehner, acknowledged Republicans alone can’t stop the measure but pledged to do “everything we can to make it difficult for them, if not impossible, to pass the bill.” Republicans believe they may get help from Democrats facing tough re-election campaigns.

Axelrod said it will be a struggle, taking aim at insurance industry lobbyists who “have landed on Capitol Hill like locusts” and Republicans who see being on the losing side of the vote as a political victory.

“I am absolutely confident that we are going to be successful. I believe that there is a sense of urgency on the part of members of Congress,” given recent news about insurance plan rate increases, Axelrod said.

Yet a dose of reality came from Rep. James Clyburn, the third-ranking House Democrat and main vote-counter. “No, we don’t have them as of this morning, but we’ve been working this thing all weekend,” the South Carolinian said Sunday.

Clyburn said he was confident the measure would pass, echoing comments from Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., on Saturday.

Axelrod was on ABC’s “This Week,” NBC’s “Meet the Press,” and CNN’s “State of the Union.” Gibbs appeared on “Fox News Sunday” and CBS’ “Face the Nation.” Clyburn was on NBC and Boehner on CNN.

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One Response to Obama takes health care road show to Ohio as vote looms

  1. Carl Nemo

    March 15, 2010 at 12:32 pm

    Beware of slick talking crimpols huckstering uber expensive programs we can ill afford. In fact we can’t afford anything we’re engaged in at this point in history from the waging of engineered wars in faraway places to the creation of this new health care boondoggle.

    The average citizen has no realization as to the rate at which these spendthrifts are destroying the financial stability of the United States.

    What will you do when serious inflation, then hyperinflation sets upon us while fewer jobs are available to dig ourselves out of this nightmare? Higher interest rates will be forced upon us for long term borrowing which will effect the housing market even more so, causing even more foreclosures and the loss of more jobs.

    I thought I’d supply a current article written by Martin Weiss the founder and owner of Weiss Financial Research, one of the most respected financial research firms in the U.S. You can subscribe to this free newsletter in order to keep one on top of this unfolding nightmare. Note: I have no financial interest in this company other than having been a subscriber to one of their paid subscription newsletters over the years.

    The following is a list of a single weeks worth of “borrowing” on the part of our spendthrift reps. This is classic case of “crimpols gone wild”… / : |

    Extract from link article…

    *****

    Unprecedented borrowing: In just one week last month (ending 2/26), the U.S. Treasury issued …

    * $32 billion in 7-year Treasury notes,

    * $42 billion in 5-year notes,

    * $44 billion in 2-year notes,

    * $8 billion in 30-year TIPS bonds,

    * $26 billion of 3-month bills,

    * $28 billion of 6-month bills,

    * $31 billion of 4-week bills, and

    * $25 billion of cash management bills.

    Grand total: $236 billion in government debt issued in a single week, the most in the history of the world.

    This means that Uncle Sam borrowed new money — and replaced old debt — at the rate of $390,212 per second … $23.4 million per minute … and $1.4 billion per hour — around the clock!

    It is a pace of debt issuance that simply cannot be sustained without disastrous consequences. …

    Extract from “Money and Markets” a free Weiss Research newsletter

    http://www.moneyandmarkets.com/the-great-credit-squeeze-38303

    *****

    I urge folks to call their Congressional District reps offices and not only say no, but hell no to this 2700+ page nightmare, euphemistically called a health care “reform” bill…NOT!

    I’m supplying a link so folks can obtain the numbers of their reps offices. As they say just do it! The best threat right now is that you will vote to kick your incumbent to the curb this November if they vote “yea” for this corporatist friendly nightmare called health care reform.

    http://www.conservativeusa.org/mega-cong.htm

    Carl Nemo **==