Obama Pushes for Action on Health Care

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In homes, churches and coffee shops around the country, meetings mostly made up of millions of Democratic volunteers from the presidential campaign, are designed to rally support for President Barack Obama's plan to overhaul health care.

"The status quo is broken.  We cannot continue this way," Obama said.  "If we do nothing, everyone's health care will be put in jeopardy."

After first leaving the specifics to be spelled out by lawmakers on Capitol Hill, the president is now wading into the debate front and center-- pusing for an optional government-run health plan.

"The availability of a public option alongside private options for people who need health care is a positive thing," said Senior White House Advisor David Axelrod.

But that's not how some Republicans see it.

"[It's] a government takeover of health care," claimed GOP Sen. Mitch McConnell.

Republican Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama added that "it will be the first steps in destroying the best health care system the world has ever known."

The private sector is also skeptical.  Many are fearful that a government-run insurance program would compete directly with private insurance companies.

They're also against a proposal that would require most employers to provide health insurance to workers or pay a penalty.  And then there's figuring out how to pay for the cost of expanding coverage-- which could total well over a $1 trillion.

"The White House wants to address access affordability and quality of service, and it's almost impossible to do all that at once," explained Stuart Rothenberg of the Rothenberg Political Report.

President Obama wants Congress to consider more taxes on richer Americans as a way to pay for the overhaul, rather than taxing employer-provided health insurance benefits.  But reportedly, that idea is still on the table even though Obama spent millions to criticize Sen. John McCain when he pitched the idea last fall during the campaign.

Obama wants lawmakers to pass a bipartisan bill by the end of the summer, but his involvement and push for a government-run plan could mean the Democratic-controlled House could pass legislation with little or no Republican support.

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