Lawmakers Bump Deadline for Healthcare Reform

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WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama had to swallow a defeat, Thursday, as Senate leaders announced they would not have a plan for healthcare reform ready and voted on by his August deadline. 

"It's better to have a product based on quality and thoughtfulness rather than try to jam something through," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said

"The decision was made to give them more time and I don't think it's unreasonable," he added.

For months, Obama insisted it was crucial Congress agree on healthcare legislation before its August recess.  Thursday, at a town hall meeting in Cleveland, Ohio, however, Obama responded by instantly bumping the deadline.

"I just want people to keep on working," he said.  "And I want it done by the end of the year.  I want it done by the fall."

Obama also said he doesn't want the push for reform totally derailed for political gain.

"We had one Republican strategist who told his party that even though they may want to compromise, it's better politics to go for the kill," he said.

Back on Capitol Hill, Republican congressmen highlighted one worrisome aspect of countries like Canada that have radically reformed health care.

"We are here today to look at the results of a government takeover of health care in other countries," said Rep. Eric Cantor.

Canadian Shona Holmes feels the only reason she survived a tumor is because she deserted the Canadian healthcare system for treatment in America.

She testified of Canadian shortages, years-long waiting lists, bureaucratic roadblocks and a border guard who she says, "reported to me the numbers daily of people who are crossing the border from Canada to the United States for cancer treatment, MRIs and other emergency treatment."

"He wondered why people in the U.S. were glorifying the Canadian system," Holmes added.

Another Canadian testified how he's helped more than 500 of his countrymen get medical care in the U.S.

President Obama assured the crowd in Cleveland there'd be no government takeover of health care that could morph into a system like Canada's.

Still, Republican lawmakers aren't convinced.

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Paul  Strand

Paul Strand

CBN News Washington Sr. Correspondent

As senior correspondent in CBN's Washington, D.C., bureau, Paul Strand has covered a variety of political and social issues, with an emphasis on defense, justice, and Congress.  Follow Paul on Twitter @PaulStrandCBN and "like" him at Facebook.com/PaulStrandCBN.