President Barack Obama was in France on Saturday to mark the 65th anniversary of the D-Day landings at Normandy, but he used his weekly radio address to focus on his top domestic priority: reforming health care.
Obama emphasized the urgent need for reform and said the time is right for Congress to seize a historic opportunity to overhaul the nations health care system. The president has said he wants health care reform passed before lawmakers leave town for the August recess. Hearings on new legislation are set to begin this week.
Even as we speak, Congress is preparing to introduce and debate health reform legislation that is the product of many months of effort and deliberation, Obama said. And if youre like any of the Americans Ive met across this country who know all too well that the soaring costs of health care make our current course unsustainable, I imagine youll be watching their progress closely.
Obama said he expected a lively debate in coming weeks over the legislation, and he hailed the unprecedented coalition that has come together to try to achieve reform. Everyone is at the table, he said.
The president also stressed that hes made it clear to Congress that the health care reform plan should not increase the countrys budget deficit any further, and he made plain that any plan to continue or fix the status quo is unacceptable.
Simply put, the status quo is broken. We cannot continue this way. If we do nothing, everyones health care will be put in jeopardy, Obama said. Fixing whats wrong with our health care system is no longer a luxury we hope to achieve, its a necessity we cannot postpone any longer.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.