In final push, Obama stresses bill’s reforms will rein in cost of healthcare

Obama made the remark in a stump speech Monday in Glenside, Pa., where he sought to address GOP criticisms that his health plan doesn’t do enough to contain rising costs.

Obama, who appeared with Sens. Bob Casey Jr. (D-Pa.) and Arlen Specter (D-Pa.), argued he’s incorporated serious Republican proposals to contain rising healthcare costs.

{mosads}”You keep on hearing from critics and some of the Republicans on these Sunday shows say, ‘Well, we want to do more about costs,’ ” Obama said in a speech at Arcadia University.

“We have now incorporated almost every single serious idea from across the political spectrum about how to contain the rising costs of healthcare, ideas that go after waste and abuse in our system, including in programs like Medicare.”

Obama’s speech comes as the White House makes a final push to win approval of healthcare reform. The president hopes to see the House approve the Senate-passed version of the bill by March 18. Both chambers would then pass a package of “fixes,” with the Senate using special rules that would prevent Republicans from filibustering the package.

The tough part now is for Obama and House leaders to wrangle enough votes in the House to win approval of the Senate bill. A group of centrist House Democrats oppose language in the Senate bill that they say would not do enough to prevent federal funds from paying for abortion services.

Reps. Chakka Fattah (D-Pa.) and Robert Andrews (D-N.J.) were the only House members at Monday’s event.

In Glenside, Obama sought to address concerns over costs head-on, tying his push for health reform directly to containing rising costs.

But Obama also reiterated Democratic arguments that a number of GOP proposals had been included in his plan. Obama last week wrote congressional leaders outlining four Republican proposals he’s willing to consider, including tort reform and programs to root out fraud and waste in Medicare — two proposals related to cost containment.

“We have debated healthcare in Washington for more than a year. Every proposal has been put on the table. Every argument has been made,” Obama said.

“I know a lot of people view this as a partisan issue. But both parties have found areas where we agree,” the president added. “What we’ve ended up with is a proposal that’s somewhere in the middle, one that incorporates the best from Democrats and Republicans, the best ideas.”

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