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Obama 'cautiously optimistic' Senate will pass health-care bill

By Shailagh Murray and Lori Montgomery
President Obama emerged from a White House meeting with Senate Democrats Tuesday afternoon and announced he was "cautiously optimistic" the legislation would pass.

"It's clear that we are on the precipice of an achievement that's eluded Congresses and presidents for generations, an achievement that will touch the lives of nearly every American," said Obama. "There are still some differences that have to be worked on. This was not a roll call. This was a broad-based discussion about how we move forward."

Participants described the meeting as a frank exchange of views. Lawmakers expressed numerous concerns about the bill, including its lack of a government-run insurance plan, the top priority for liberals that was dropped at moderate insistence. "Because of the moment we're at, there was probably a little more candor than usual," said Sen. Robert C. Casey Jr. (D-Pa.) He said Democrats agreed that a finish line was in sight, and that it was "days from now, not weeks."

Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) said he concluded from the session, "I think we're on the brink of getting something done." Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) said Obama's message was simple: "Pass this."

To meet Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's goal of holding a final Senate vote by Christmas, Obama and lawmakers must resolve a dispute about abortion coverage while quelling concerns about other provisions in the bill, including nearly $500 billion in Medicare cuts, a new excise tax on high-value insurance policies, and new requirements for employers that have cost the support of influential business groups, including the National Federation of Independent Businesses.

But the $848 billion Senate bill received a significant boost earlier Tuesday when it was endorsed by the AARP. Provided Senate Democrats make good on their pledge to close the coverage gap in the Medicare drug benefit during a final conference with the House, the AARP "is pleased to support your efforts to obtain cloture, and urges timely passage of this legislation by the Senate," president A. Barry Rand wrote in a letter to Reid.

By Web Politics Editor  |  December 15, 2009; 3:56 PM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency , Health Care  
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Next: Loss of public option is Obama's gain


There is not enough difference between the Democrats and Republicans. Because, I live in very blue voting district, for the first time in my life I had the luxury of "voting my conscience," instead of voting for "the lesser of two evils." I voted for the Green Party candidate, not because I thought she would make a great president, but because I really agree with the Green Party agenda, and I wanted to send a message to the Democrats. I agree that Obama was a better choice than McCain, but only by a small margin. Both Democrats and Republicans have been ripping off the taxpayers, since way before I was born. The thing that worried me about Obama right from the beginning was his warlike and hawkish attitudes. We need to stop giving money to the military, and Obama never talked about that. I invite you to my website devoted to raising awareness on this puritan attack on freedom:

Posted by: scottdavene | December 21, 2009 6:11 PM | Report abuse

The President cannot just say "pass this" or "pass anything" at the enormous $2 TRILLION price tag when there is no public option and when most folks do not even know what is lurking in this bill.

Are we going to bankrupt our children and their children over something that amounts to little more than passing a law saying "you must buy healthcare or go to jail"? Are the unrelated $2 TRILLION worth of earmarks and pork worth this?

I would have greater admiration for the President if he said, "Look, we're pulling back for now, but not letting this go. Midterm elections are in 2010, we will have a different mix of faces, and an opportunity to take an honest bi-partisan approach to reforming healthcare, and at a time when the economy has had a chance to recover."

The President must take this stance, it is only fair.

Posted by: RealTexan1 | December 15, 2009 11:57 PM | Report abuse

Scrap the scam! No amendment can transform a Marxist scam like Obamacare into an honest bill. Any "amendments" will be just tricks, like the Stupak amendment, to force us to swallow the scam.

As you may have heard, Robert Creamer, a CONVICTED FELON and Obama’s ACORN associate, outlined the guidelines for the Obamacare SCAM in his 2007 book, “Stand Up Straight: How Progressives Can Win.”

Creamer wrote in his 2007 book:

* “We must create a national consensus that health care is a right, not a commodity; and that government must guarantee that right.”
* “We must create a national consensus that the health care system is in crisis.”
* “Our messaging program over the next two years should focus heavily on reducing the credibility of the health insurance industry and focusing on the failure of private health insurance.”
* “We need not agree in advance on the components of a plan, but we must foster a process that can ultimately yield consensus.”

As per Creamer’s book, their main objective is NOT improving health care. It’s to advance their power through the “democratization of wealth” (socialism/Marxim) as per the teachings of Saul Alinsky.

Posted by: AntonioSosa | December 15, 2009 11:11 PM | Report abuse

Months ago I was mildly amused when I read in a comments section, "I voted for Super Man and ended up with Mr. Rogers." God help me. I am beginning to understand and agree.

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Posted by: huangzhixian170 | December 15, 2009 9:34 PM | Report abuse

No matter that Joe Lieberman behaved very badly in getting his way on health care. The bottom line is that a yes from Joe is a big political score for the president.

Posted by: parkerfl1 | December 15, 2009 9:24 PM | Report abuse


A bunch of arrogant Chicago thug-liars think they can RAM a 2,000-page MESS on Jane Doe?

No sale, thug-liars.

We know who you are -- you will NEVER win. We said we would fight you to the end, and we will.

Go back to DaleyThugVille and STEAL from someone else. We're NOT buying.

Posted by: russpoter | December 15, 2009 9:14 PM | Report abuse

Health care reform a cruel joke when Americans are unconstitutionally targeted for TORTURE, PHYSICAL AND NEUROLOGICAL IMPAIRMENT. Please, Mr. President: Pols may be among the victims...



* Thousands of Americans, deemed to be "dissidents" or undesirables, targeted by Bush legacy program for debilitating microwave/laser assault, held hostage in their own homes to fed-supported vigilante "community policing" stalking units, equipped with warrantless GPS devices, who vandalize and terrorize as local police look the other way.

* "Directed energy weapons," portable units and a nationwide installation employing cell towers and satellites, induce weakness, exhaustion, mood changes, head and body aches, physical and neurological impairment, strokes, aneurysms, cancer -- and many victims do not realize what is making them sick.

* Regional Homeland Security- administered "fusion centers" reportedly serve as command centers for covert electromagnetic radiation attacks, pervasive surveillance, financial sabotage of those identified as "dissidents," "trouble-makers" or slandered as threats to society.

* Use of microwave weaponry to torture and impair political opponents recently confirmed by deposed Honduras President Manuel Zelaya.

* Pleas for justice, to local police and FBI, go unanswered -- as do demands for a Department of Justice Civil Rights Division investigation and congressional hearings.

"These are crimes against humanity and the Constitution, being perpetrated under the cover of national security and 'safe streets' by multiple federal and local agencies and commands -- an American genocide hiding in plain sight, enabled by the naivete of those who think 'it can't happen here.'" -- Victor Livingston, former reporter for WTXF-TV Philadelphia, Phila. Bulletin, N.Y. Daily News, St. Petersburg Times; producer/host, MSG Network Sports Business Report; columnist,

OR (if links are corrupted / disabled): RE: "GESTAPO USA"

Posted by: scrivener50 | December 15, 2009 9:07 PM | Report abuse

AARP for seemingly inexplicable reasons is selling out the interests of most of its members who are sixty five and older. There is no way reducing Medicare spending by $50 billion a year will have entirely benign effects on those receiving Medicare benefits. Many or most people will have higher out of pocket expenses.

Posted by: Aprogressiveindependent | December 15, 2009 8:32 PM | Report abuse

Interesting use of the word "precipice".

1. a cliff with a vertical, nearly vertical, or overhanging face.
2. a situation of great peril: on the precipice of war.

Posted by: hz9604 | December 15, 2009 6:19 PM | Report abuse

Now that the public option has been ditched and it will be all private health insurers, Americans can look forward to the savings from outsourcing overseas claim processing.

Americans can prepare for the conversations with overseas claim processors. The Hindu word for heart is dil. The Oxford Hindi-English Dictionary sells for under $30 on Amazon.

This dictionary will also be useful in conversations regarding your account in your American bank or the computer you bought from an American company.

Posted by: bsallamack | December 15, 2009 6:08 PM | Report abuse

We know these things about this bill:

1) It's been gutted of the Public Option, which was the reason for the bill in the first place.

2) No one knows what's in it but the Democratic senators.

3) Democratic senators are notorious for slipping in all kinds of unrelated legislation into such bills.

3) The price tag is upwards to $2 TRILLION. For those of you who require more of a visual, that's...


Our grandchildren will not be able to pay this off. I can think of nothing more selfish, more wrong about what these senators doing than if they pass this bill.

Posted by: RealTexan1 | December 15, 2009 6:02 PM | Report abuse

You know that the lobbyists have not won yet because the GOP still does not have one single member supporting the bill.

As long as the GOP opposes it, then it MUST be good for the country.

Posted by: Heerman532 | December 15, 2009 5:19 PM | Report abuse

How about some real reporting on this? What are the provisions of the bill, simply put?

Who gets the money (Does this just shuffle millions of customers to private insurance companies who can then raise rates and take profits as they choose? Does this do what Medicare D did--put billions more in the pockets of drug, health insurance and health care companies without really helping common people?)

Does this cut out pre-existing illnesses, rescission, high deductibles, low caps on coverage? Does this do anything to control drug costs, to make it so we pay more what they pay for drugs in Canada and other nations with more government involvement in the health care system?

Who got the most drug, insurance and health care company support in their last campaign? I saw on CNN that Lieberman was the second highest in all this among all candidates in his last campaign.

I don't care what people think about this. I want to know the details of the bills and what they will really mean, especially where will the money go and will there be anything to hold down premium prices, drug costs and exponentially increasing amounts charged by doctors and hospitals.

Quit the political baloney. Give your readers the facts.

Posted by: tinyjab40 | December 15, 2009 5:18 PM | Report abuse

a baby will grow up to be a great american. and he or she will only be alive

because sen ben nelson (d. neb) stood against mandatory abortion coverage in obamacare

and thats a living legacy that will bless

long afrter every dem senate hack is


Posted by: ProCounsel | December 15, 2009 5:14 PM | Report abuse

It is a corporate bill... better to grandstand and not sign. We will try again when we get rid of Obama and Lieberman.

Posted by: angriestdogintheworld | December 15, 2009 5:03 PM | Report abuse

I would have preferred to read that President Obama called them in and busted their heads to get this done.

Posted by: Heerman532 | December 15, 2009 4:49 PM | Report abuse

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