Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Obama, Gop Leaders Duel over Health Insurance

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Obama, Gop Leaders Duel over Health Insurance

Article excerpt

LARGO, Md. -

Congress is creating a lot of confusion over health care reform, but it's pretty simple, President Barack Obama told an enthusiastic crowd at a community college today.

America has been the only advanced nation in the world where there is no right to health care. The Affordable Care Act is changing that, Mr. Obama told students five days before Americans will get their first chance to sign up for coverage - some subsidized - under the new law.

"If you're one of over 40 million Americans who don't have health insurance starting on Tuesday ... you'll finally have the chance to buy quality, affordable health insurance," he said.

Even as he spoke, Republicans in Congress were making last-ditch efforts to undermine provisions of the signature domestic policy, saying it's a dangerous law that impedes individual liberty and will cost jobs.

"The closer we get [to implementation] the more desperate they get. The past few weeks the rhetoric has just been ramped up," Mr. Obama said.

The opposition has culminated in a threat to stop funding the government if Democrats insist on full implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Mr. Obama told the crowd that Republicans are using that threat to blackmail him into making concessions but that he will not negotiate.

"There's been a lot of confusion, but there are few things more important to the economic security of the middle class - and everybody trying to get into the middle class - than health care," Mr. Obama said.

Meanwhile, 15 miles away on the U.S. Senate floor, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., was giving an impassioned speech of his own, characterizing the president as a pitchman trying to sell a skeptical public on a bad deal.

"Americans aren't buying the spin," he said.

"Small business owners want to know how they're ever, ever going to comply with more than 20,000 pages of regulations. They want to know how they're going to be able to keep their employees insured, work forces growing, businesses expanding and -- far too often -- their doors open once this law comes online," Mr. …

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