Obama wins nurses' backing for healthcare

On Wednesday, the third day of his intensified effort to get healthcare legislation passed by the August recess, President Obama announced support from the American Nurses' Association (ANA).

The president, joined by representatives of the ANA in the White House Rose Garden, praised the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee's passage of a reform proposal earlier in the day and again lauded the House introduction of a bill on Tuesday.

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"This progress should make us hopeful — but it can't make us complacent," Obama said. "It should instead provide the urgency for both the House and the Senate to finish their critical work on health reform before the August recess."

The president, taking advice from one of the nurses he met with in the Oval Office, said the time has come to "buck up" Congress and the federal government to take action on healthcare.

"We're going to be continuously talking about this for the next two to three weeks until we get a bill out of the House; get a bill out of the Senate," Obama said. "Then we'll deserve a few weeks' rest before we come back and finally get a bill done so we can sign it right here in the Rose Garden."

Obama again took on his critics, challenging them to "take a hard look" at the status quo the president said they are defending.

"The naysayers and the cynics still doubt we can do this.  But it wasn’t too long ago that those same naysayers doubted that we’d be able to make real progress on healthcare reform," Obama said. "And thanks to the work of key committees in Congress, we are now closer to the goal of health reform than we have ever been."

The ANA represents 2.9 million registered nurses in America; Obama called the group "men and women who know as well as anyone the urgent need for health reform."

The president has held similar events at the White House with representatives of the pharmaceutical and hospital industries and the AARP.

This story was updated at 1:50 p.m.