Obama wants 'up or down' vote on health care

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March 4, 2010, 6:35 am
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(NECN/ABC) - This is it -- President Barack Obama wants a thumbs "up or down vote" on health care reform legislation within weeks.    

The President and many Democrats in Congress are giving it everything they have to carry healthcare reform legislation over the finish line.  But even some Democrats admit the demand for immediate action is too ambitious.

Mr. Obama will be selling his plans to the American people with scheduled trips next week to Philadelphia and St. Louis.

Pressure is on wary Democrats as congressional leaders work to secure the votes in the House and Senate.  It also includes supporting the controversial legislative move of "reconciliation," which requires only 51 votes in the Senate to pass the bill, rather than the 60-vote majority. 

"For us to start over now could simply lead to delays that could last for another decade or even more," President Obama said.

Flanked by medical professionals at the White House yesterday, the president  called on Congress to bring legislation to a vote. 

"I do not know how this plays politically, but I know it's right," Mr. Obama said.

He insists that his plan will cover the uninsured, bring down health care costs and end the "worst practices" of insurance companies, such as denying coverage because of pre-existing conditions.

Mr. Obama notes that this bill includes Republican ideas; GOP lawmakers are balking. 

"You can't add a couple of Republican sprinkles on the top of a 2,700-page bill and claim that it is bi-partisan," House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) said.

Republicans warn that this health care reform end game play will spell the end for Democrats in the upcoming mid-term elections. 

"You ignore the overwhelming desires of the American people at your own peril," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said.

Republicans are launching robo-calls Thursday in 40 Democratic-held districts. They will voters not to allow Democrats to push through health care reform.

ABC's Viviana Hurtado reports in the video player above.

Tags: reform, health care, President Obama, Rep Boehner
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