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Obama: Healthcare law is a ‘centrist’ measure

On a day when President Barack Obama will sign a package of fixes to the
healthcare law, he said the reforms are a “middle-of-the-road,
centrist” measure.

No Republicans voted for the bill, and many called it a “government
takeover” of health insurance, but Obama said that the bill is full of GOP
ideas, a claim that Democrats made throughout the debate. He added that the
Republicans opposed it for political, not policy-related, reasons.

“I think that the Republican Party made a calculated decision, a
political decision, that they would not support whatever we did,” he said
on NBC’s “Today” show, referencing Sen. Jim DeMint’s (R-S.C.) claim
that it would be his Waterloo. “I think that’s unfortunate, because when
you look at the actual bill itself, it incorporates all sorts of Republican
ideas.”

Later on Tuesday in Virginia, Obama will sign fixes to the law, capping the
more than one-year debate over healthcare reform legislation.

But Republicans have charged that the bill will spend too much, raise the
deficit, cut Medicare and put the government in control of the insurance
industry. Democrats argue that the bill will reduce the deficit, according to
the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, expand coverage, crack down on
insurance company abuses and make Medicare solvent for an additional decade by
cutting waste.

“I will say any objective observer looking at this bill would say that
this is a middle-of-the-road, centrist approach [that] is providing coverage to people
and makes sure we are reducing costs,” he said.

Obama and the Democrats have said that the bill will bring down the cost of
health insurance, but he said that more will be needed to reduce costs.
Republicans and many conservative Democrats have said that the bill does not do
enough to rein in costs.

“I think it is a critical first step in making a healthcare system
that works for all Americans.,” Obama said of the bill. “It is not
going to be the only thing. We are still going to have adjustments that have to
be made to further reduce costs.”

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