Obama Points to McCain’s Past Support for Health Care Reform

Posted December 19, 2009 at 5:00am

President Barack Obama on Saturday urged support for health care reform legislation by comparing it to the Patients’ Bill of Rights pushed in Congress a decade ago, suggesting Republicans who backed the legislation then have no excuse to oppose the bill before the Senate now.“The last time a Patients’ Bill of Rights was within reach was roughly a decade ago, and it was supported by Democrats and Republicans alike, from Ted Kennedy to John McCain,— Obama said in his weekly address. “Today, we are being given another chance to make it a reality because each of these rights, and many more, are incorporated in the health insurance reform bill that recently passed the House of Representatives and in the bill that is currently making its way through the Senate.—Obama said the bill reduces health care costs while strengthening Medicare. “When it becomes law, families will save on their premiums,— he said. “Small businesses and Americans who don’t get any insurance today through their employers will no longer be forced to pay punishingly high rates to get coverage.—Obama noted that a majority of the Senate supports the bill and demanded that the Senate dispense with procedural hurdles that could prevent a final vote.“The question is whether the minority that opposes these reforms will continue to use parliamentary maneuvers to try and stop the Senate from voting on them,— he said. “Whatever their position on health insurance reform, Senators ought to allow an up-or-down vote.—In the Republican response, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) charged that the Senate bill will cause health care spending to rise. “The best thing government could do to ensure more Americans have access to health care insurance is to institute reforms that would rein in costs and make health care more affordable for more Americans,— he said. “Regrettably, there’s nothing in this legislation that effectively addresses the problem of health care hyperinflation — in fact, experts tells us the Democrat legislation makes matters worse.—McCain said Republicans were kept at arm’s length as the bill was put together. “Contrary to assurances from the White House and the Democratic leadership in Congress, the process Democrats used to write the bill was anything but open and bipartisan,— McCain said. “It was an exercise in legislative sausage-making conducted behind closed doors without the participation of Republicans.— McCain warned Democrats not to try to pass such sweeping legislation without bipartisan support.“Every major reform in American history has been a bipartisan effort,— McCain said. “Never in my experience has one party attempted to increase the government’s influence in one-sixth of the American economy over the nearly unanimous opposition of the other party.—