The First Draft: Healthcare, Take 1
It’s healthcare week at the White House — the first of what promises to be many.
With debate on a healthcare reform package beginning to take shape, President Barack Obama heads to Chicago this morning to make his case for it to the American Medical Association, an audience of skeptics who will be on the frontline of the battle to overhaul the sprawling U.S. healthcare system.
The AMA, which represents 250,000 doctors, said in a statement last week it would oppose a public government insurance plan that Obama says will drive down costs by creating competition with private insurers. Critics say it would limit choice and amount to a government takeover.
Obama’s speech will be the first of several pieces of the healthcare puzzle this week, with the Senate Finance Committee slated to unveil its version of the bill and the debate sharpening over how to pay for the plan and whether to include the public insurance program.
Obama wants to sign a healthcare reform bill this year, and congressional leaders have promised to get the initial version to the floor and passed in each chamber by the August recess — setting up a fall of debate and compromise as the two chambers hammer out a final version of the plan.
REUTERS/Frank Polich (Statue of President Barack Obama in Chicago)