In an eagerly awaited speech delivered before Congress on Wednesday, President Obama failed to rule out a government-run health insurance option as part of healthcare reform.
With the public growing increasingly skeptical about his plans to overhaul the ailing healthcare system, the President appeared in front of lawmakers to restate his case and reconfirm his administration’s commitment to ensuring that Americans will no longer have to fear bankruptcy caused by medical bills.
Stressing the U.S. is the only wealthy democracy that "allows such hardships for millions of its people," Obama sought to convince his listeners that his proposals would reduce costs, expand coverage, improve care and regulate the insurance market so that sick people are no longer denied coverage.
At the same time, he pledged he will not sign any bill that would increase the deficit, saying his proposal would cost $900 billion over 10 years.
Obama further warned special interests that he will not tolerate "the same old tactics," designed to block the reform.
"If you misrepresent what’s in the plan, we will call you out," he stressed, adding, "I will not accept the status quo as a solution. Not this time. Not now."
The Republican response to the speech came from Representative Charles Boustany of Louisiana who criticized Obama for pushing an expansive package that fails to benefit families and small businesses. He also expressed his party’s disappointment with the President’s unwillingness to drop the public option idea, according to Politico.com.