Obama stepping up pressure on Democrats to pass health care bill
By Adam Allington, KWMU
St. Louis, MO – President Obama is stepping up pressure on members of his own party to pass a health care bill before legislators go into the August recess.
The president summoned Democratic members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee to the White House on Tuesday. The committee is one of three House panels considering health care legislation.
Some conservative Democrats are balking at a proposed tax increase on the wealthy and whether to establish a government-run insurance program to compete with private plans.
Republicans have accused the president of trying to rush the bill through without appropriate review, a notion which St. Louis Congressman Russ Carnahan refutes.
"I do not agree that this is being rushed," Carnahan said. "Most of what is in it is not new. There are things that we have talked about and tried and debated for many many years. They've just been put together in a comprehensive package."
Carnahan said the time to address health care is not, before next year's mid-term elections.
But Republican Congressman John Shimkus of Collinsville, Ill. said the president is trying to force health care legislation through Congress without allowing time for a thorough review.
"Why does the White House have a demand that the bill be passed on the floor by the end of July?" Shimkus asked. "The answer is, they don't want to give us an opportunity to have the month of August to go out and educate and receive input from constituents on this bill."
Shimkus said the President's bill will lead to increased costs and rationed care.