Obama Leaves Option Open for Healthcare Tax

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Lawmakers are still trying to crunch the numbers on a $1 trillion health care overhaul.

The President is facing tough opposition for his health care reform plan, and the American public got to see that in prime time.

At Wednesday's town hall meeting moderated by ABC's Charles Gibson and Diane Sawyer, Obama did not receive good reactions from Republicans. 

CBN News spoke with Amy Menefee, policy adviser for Patients First Now, about how the media is covering Obama's healthcare plan. Click play to watch.

"Let me put it this way," said Congressman Paul Ryan. "Having the government compete against the private sector -- it is kind of like my seven-year-old daughter's lemonade stand competing against Mcdonald's. It is the government being the referee and player in the same game."

But Obama argued that the time is now to expand coverage to the nearly 50 million people who are uninsured.

"We cannot keep doing what we are doing," said Obama. "It is bankrupting families, I get letters. Bankrupting businesses, and bankrupting our government."

But many in the audience were not buying it. About 164 people participated, including the head of the AMA, which has been critical of government expansion into health care.

"How are you going to assure American public between patient and physician and not bureaucrat," asked Dr. James Rohack, AMA president.

"If you are happy with your plan, stick with it," Obama replied. "If you don't have it, too much for you to afford, employer won't cover it. You can sign up for what we call, an 'exchange.'"

Others in the audience were concerned that reforms could impact the quality of their coverage.

Some are worried about rising costs to employers and workers, and to the federal deficit.

The President argued the benefits of reform outweigh the costs.

He has also set a deadline, and said he wants a bill on his desk by August, but lawmakers said this isn't close to being ready.

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