President Barack ObamaBarack ObamaTrump order could undo designation of national monuments: report Trump will ramp up action on executive orders this week: reports French election: Le Pen, Macron will face off MORE said Monday that Congress should
approve a final healthcare bill even if it doesn’t include a public option.
Obama said the House and Senate bills are 95 percent “identical” and downplayed the fact that final legislation is unlikely to include a public health insurance option during an Oval Office interview with American Urban Radio Networks’ April Ryan.
“There's 5 percent differences, and one of those differences is the public option,” Obama said.
Obama rejected criticism from liberal and African-American groups that see the absence of a public option in the Senate bill as a cave-in to insurance companies, who will get millions of new customers because of mandates that require people to buy insurance.
There is a public option in the House bill, but a public option was stripped from the Senate bill two weeks ago.
Obama hailed the fact that the legislation will extend insurance to more people while downplaying the lack of a public option.
“But either way, whether there's a public option in there or not, if you don't have health insurance, you are going to have now the option of getting it at a reasonable cost,” Obama said. “And that's the most important thing.”
Obama said he stayed up to watch the Senate take a key procedural vote on healthcare just after 1 a.m. Monday morning.
“I was up because I wanted to make sure that I was watching what could end up being a historic moment,” the president said.
Obama said he is “now confident” the bill is going to pass,
saying, “There is so much good in this bill."