- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 3, 2010

President Obama on Wednesday made a final plea for Congress to vote on health-care reform, saying the debate is over and now is the time to act.

“Every idea has been put on the table; every argument has been made,” the president said amid white-coated medical workers in the White House’s East Room, where he began his push for health-care reform. “So now it’s time to make a decision.”

Mr. Obama again set forth the details of his plan — including the argument that it eventually would lower insurance costs and the importance of covering as many Americans as possible to keep insurance companies for excluding potential customers, particularly those with pre-existing conditions.

His plan calls for insuring 31 million more Americans, while the Republican plan calls for insuring roughly 3 million more, which they say is all the federal government can afford.

Mr. Obama asked Congress to vote in the next few weeks. However, whether the Democrat-controlled Congress has enough votes remains unclear.

Democrats are considering a plan, called reconciliation, to pass the legislation without Republicans having the opportunity to filibuster.

The plan calls for the House to vote on the Senate version of the reform bill.

“Where both sides say they agree is that the status quo is not working for the American people,” Mr. Obama said. “Health insurance is becoming more expensive by the day. Families cant afford it. Businesses cant afford it. The federal government cant afford it. Smaller businesses and individuals who dont get coverage at work are squeezed especially hard. And insurance companies freely ration health care based on whos sick and whos healthy, who can pay and who cannot.”

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