Obama to talk about health care reform - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Obama to talk about health care reform

WASHINGTON (ABC NEWS)-- The President wants Congress to pass health care reform legislation before he travels to Asia mid-March.

The new bill he'll outline later today will include Republican ideas such as reform to medical malpractice laws, and cracking down on Medicaid and Medicare fraud.  But if congressional leaders can't agree, Obama will support an end-game move.

It's called reconciliation and only requires 51 votes to pass the bill in the Senate.  Democratic congressional leaders back the President's plan.

Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi says, "Our legislation will have legislation that is affordable for the middle class and holds the insurance companies accountable in doing so."

Later this afternoon, the President will make his case to the American people.  He'll argue that reconciliation is appropriate as a way to help bring down the ballooning federal deficit.  Some lawmakers fear the move is being used to ram this legislation through Congress.

Democrats argue that getting around opposition to pass a reform bill is necessary.  But Republicans insist they are expressing the will of families and small businesses.

Senator John McCain says, "We need to start over. That's what the American people want us to do."

The President is inviting Republicans to join him and democratic congressional leaders as they work out the exact language of the bill.  If they don't, Obama insists reform legislation will still move forward.

Online Reporter: Jill Courtney

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