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.
|President Obama speaks at White House news conference, 22 Jul 2009|
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 growth.
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 for it.
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.