President Barack Obama on Monday brought a cadre of doctors into the Rose Garden to promote his health care agenda, offering the message that while insurers oppose his reform, health care providers like it.
While the remarks were largely the same ones Obama routinely offers, the stage props doctors in their white coats were strikingly new.
When you cut through all the noise and all the distractions that are out there, I think what's most telling is that some of the people who are most supportive of reform are the very medical professionals who know the health care system best: the doctors and nurses of America, Obama said.
They've seen what happens when patients don't come in for regular checkups or screenings because either their insurance company doesn't cover it or they can't afford insurance in the first place, he said. And they've seen far too much of the time that they want to devote to taking care of patients spent filling out forms and haggling with insurance companies about payments.
The president over the summer invited a group of nurses who also showed up in their professional garb to a similar Rose Garden event.
With the Senate Finance Committee finally ready to vote on a bill and the prospects of floor votes in the House and Senate coming into focus, Obama appeared to be trying to start steering the process to a close.
At this point, we've heard all the arguments on both sides of the aisle, said Obama, who only last month suggested he was still open to ideas.
We have now been debating this issue of health insurance reform for months, he said. The United States Congress has been working on it for better for the better part of a year. And last week, the final Congressional committee involved in shaping legislation completed their proposal and will soon vote on it.
Among the officials in the audience were those representing the American Medical Association, National Medical Association, American Academy of Family Physicians, American College of Physicians, Doctors for America, American Academy of Pediatrics, and American College of Cardiology.
Obamas remarks were in conjunction with a drive by the Democratic National Committee-backed group Organizing for America to have doctors hold events at the local level and make phone calls on behalf of Obamas health care initiative. Several doctors were calling their own patients to urge them to back the president, according to OFA.
Leaders from military and veterans service organizations joined Sens. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., Kelly Ayotte , R-N.H., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., at a press conference to urge the Senate to replace a provision in the budget proposal that cuts retirement benefits for veterans. Wicker, Ayotee, and Graham earlier called for a bipartisan solution to replace the $6.3 billion in cuts to military retiree benefits.
Each year since 1990, CQ Roll Call has reviewed the financial disclosures of all 541 senators, representatives and delegates to determine the 50 richest members of Congress. This year's report, derived from forms covering the calendar year 2012, shows it took a net worth of $6.67 million to crack the exclusive club.