Can Common Ground be Found on Health Reform?

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WASHINGTON -- As President Barack Obama tries to rally Congress to reform health care, there's real doubt a big overhaul can even pass.

Both Democrats and Republicans agree.

"Our legislation is about 85 percent in agreement," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said.

But it's sticklers like a government-run public option and possible taxpayer-funded abortion that could bring the whole plan down.

Rick Scott of Conservatives for Patients Right joined CBN News to share more on the subject. Click play to watch the interview.

If Pelosi loses 38 Democrats, she probably can't pass a bill in the House.

Since some 60 Democrats say they'll vote against it without a public option, that's why she's saying a public option is essential.

But a couple dozen more moderate Democrats have said they'll oppose the plan, and most of them say they'll be against it if it does include a public option.

As for abortion, pro-life Democrat Bart Stupak, D-Mich., leads a group of 39 House Democrats who say they'll oppose the plan unless Pelosi allows a straightforward up or down vote on clearly banning taxpayer-funded abortions in the reform plan.

Stupak's worried Congress won't mention abortion in its final bill, and that silence will allow it to be paid for by taxpayers.

"The courts have always ruled if Congress does not explicitly state 'no public funding for abortion,' then abortion is included as a covered benefit," Stupak said. "And therefore we need language that explicitly states 'no public funding for abortion,'" he added.

In the House, it's pretty clear most Republicans will fight an ambitious overhaul of health care.

"I have deep concerns about most of the provisions in this bill," Rep. Charles Boustany, R-La., said.

But a bipartisan group of senators keeps trying to come up with a Senate bill that could get some Republican support, even though the GOP Senate leader sounds doubtful.

"The status quo is not acceptable, but neither are any of the proposals we've seen from the White House or Democrats in Congress," Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said.

President Obama says he's not giving up on Republicans.

On ABC's Good Morning America on Wednesday, he said his speech will make clear what he wants -- like a public option -- but another major goal is "to make sure that Democrats and Republicans understand that I'm open to new ideas," the president said.

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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.