Biden previews Obama healthcare speech

Vice President Biden previewed President Obama's healthcare speech scheduled for next week, saying that Obama will lay out in "understandable, clear terms" what he wants.

Biden said that Obama's speech, before a joint session of Congress in prime-time Wednesday, will help focus the healthcare debate, dominated in August by anti-reform protests at lawmaker town-hall meetings, has see an "awful lot of screaming and hollering."

"The president will lay out very clearly on Wednesday what those pieces [in the bill] have to be and will be," Biden said after a speech on the economy Thursday.

Biden stayed away from the contentious details of the plan, including the public option and subsidies to help the uninsured obtain coverage.

"The reason I choose foreign policy is that it's a lot easier than healthcare, and a lot less complicated," Biden joked.

Biden said that the "prospects of success" for healthcare reform are high. Stakeholders, including doctors and hospitals, are supportive of an overhaul.

"The vast majority of the American people still know that the system that exists is not serving them very well," he said.

But Biden suggested that any vote on healthcare will be close. He acknowledged that few Republicans are likely to back the healthcare effort, noting that few Republicans supported past efforts to create Social Security in the 1930s and Medicare in the 1960s. Legislation starting those programs passed on close votes in Congress, Biden noted.

"It's darkest before dawn," he said.

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