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« What If Obama's Mother Had An Abortion? | Blog Home Page | Strategy Memo: Six Months Down »

Obama: Without Reform, No One's Insurance Secure

In a late afternoon statement on his top legislative priority, President Obama tried to regain control of the health care debate by raising the stakes for lawmakers and the public.

"We're going to have to get this done," he said in the Diplomatic Reception Room in a statement delayed nearly an hour. "If we don't get health care reform done now, then no one's health insurance is going to be secure."

Without reform, he said premiums will continue to rise, out of pocket costs will go up astronomically, and anyone who changes jobs may be unable to get insured.

"That's not a future that I accept for the United States of America. That's why those who are betting against this happening this year are badly mistaken," he said.

Missing from the statement was any new specific commitment on financing the health care overhaul, which is the main issue right now. He did say that his plan to "cut hundreds of billions of dollars in unnecessary spending and unwarranted giveaways to insurance companies in Medicare and Medicaid" should cover two-thirds of the cost. And despite yesterday's testimony by the CBO director, he sounded confident that a reform effort could actually "bend the curve" of long term costs.

"Make no mistake: if we step back from this challenge at this moment, we are consigning our children to future of skyrocketing premiums and crushing deficits. There's no argument about that," he said.

Obama met today with a number of lawmakers, including freshmen members of Congress as he tried to keep lawmakers on a timetable to pass legislation before the August recess. He ignored a reporter's question about perhaps extending the deadline, but did say earlier that there would be some long days and nights ahead.