U.S. President Barack Obama defended his health care reform plan during
a nationally televised news conference Wednesday, taking his case
directly to the American people and countering objections by lawmakers
in both parties.
With polls showing slipping support for health care reform, Mr. Obama
argued his plan will lower skyrocketing health care costs -- something
he said is key to the nation's economic recovery and long-term economic
Mr. Obama also said the plan will provide Americans more insurance
options and provide them with coverage they can depend on. He warned
that 14,000 Americans will lose health insurance each day if the
current system is not changed.
Mr. Obama stressed his initiative would not add to the country's
deficit over the next decade, addressing concerns from minority
Republicans and some Democrats about the cost of the plan.
Republicans argue the plan amounts to a government takeover of the
health industry and they object to a tax on wealthy Americans to pay
Republicans also claim Mr. Obama's initiative will cost far more than
$1 trillion dollars, as claimed by the president and Democrats.
The president has said he wants both houses of Congress to approve
legislation before their August recess. Lawmakers with both parties say
they need more time to craft the complicated plan.
During the press conference, President Obama also defended his decision
to bail out financial institutions, saying it was necessary to avert a
"complete financial meltdown."
He said the system has now stabilized and new financial regulations are needed to prevent a similar crisis.