Obama Open to Compromise on Healthcare Overhaul
President Barack Obama delivers remarks to the White House Forum on Health Reform, Thursday, March 5, 2009, in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Thursday, March 5, 2009. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
March 05, 2009
WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama said the consensus from the White House health care summit is that there is an immediate need for health care reform, and signaled that he’s open to compromise on Thursday.
Obama told participants at the end of a health summit that although he offered a plan during last year’s campaign, he isn’t wedded to that proposal. He told Republicans and Democrats, doctors and insurers — “I just want to figure out what works.”
The president said there are some elements that all sides can agree on such as electronic health records that will save lives and money. Other issues — such as his $634 billion down payment for expanded coverage — are certain to create deep divisions.
He said: “We have to keep an open mind.”
Obama invited more than 120 people who hold a wide range of views on how to fix the system.
Obama entered the room with Sen. Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts, who is battling a brain tumor. After brief remarks summarizing the participants’ observations, Obama called on Kennedy. The veteran Democratic senator said he looked forward to being a foot soldier in the push for health care reform and said: “this time we will not fail.”
Kennedy, who recently turned 77, is battling brain cancer and has been in Florida continuing his treatment and physical rehabilitation. He chairs the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee and was a strong Obama backer during the 2008 campaign.
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