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Obama Makes Health Care Pitch To Congress, Nation

By Marcus Gilmer in News on Sep 10, 2009 2:00PM

Last night, President Obama addressed a joint-session of Congress and the American public to make his case for his health care reform plan, addressed controversies such as the "death panel" accusation, and mixed the usual Obama pragmatism with a bit more of a hard-line stance (the Sun-Times' Lynn Sweet called it "a magnificent balancing act"). You can watch the speech below in its entirety and read the full text here.

Obama initially focused on what he described as his plan's three main goals:

It will provide more security and stability to those who have health insurance. It will provide insurance to those who don’t. And it will slow the growth of health care costs for our families, our businesses, and our government. It’s a plan that asks everyone to take responsibility for meeting this challenge — not just government and insurance companies, but employers and individuals.

Whether he meant it to or not, the President even earned a chuckle of the crowd when he admitted, "some significant details to be ironed out." Obama then addressed accusations made against his plan, including the one made by former Alaska governor (and 2008 GOP VP candidate) Sarah Palin that his plan would be used to form "death panels."

Some of people’s concerns have grown out of bogus claims spread by those whose only agenda is to kill reform at any cost. The best example is the claim, made not just by radio and cable talk show hosts, but prominent politicians, that we plan to set up panels of bureaucrats with the power to kill off senior citizens. Such a charge would be laughable if it weren’t so cynical and irresponsible. It is a lie, plain and simple.

After insisting his plan is not as expensive as some thought, saying it "will cost around $900 billion over ten years — less than we have spent on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars," he then buckled down, saying:

I will not waste time with those who have made the calculation that it’s better politics to kill this plan than improve it. I will not stand by while the special interests use the same old tactics to keep things exactly the way they are. If you misrepresent what’s in the plan, we will call you out. And I will not accept the status quo as a solution. Not this time. Not now.

Of course, Obama's speech will most likely be remembered this morning and into the weekend for the mid-speech, House of Commons-style outburst from U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC), who offered the initial GOP response when he yelled, "You lie!" (at around the 27:00 mark) after Obama claimed the new health care system would not apply to illegal immigrants. Rep. Wilson later apologized, his actions condemned by fellow Republicans such as U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), and fact checkers figured out pretty quickly who was the liar in this situation. Still, given Obama's reaction, seen below, we're guessing Rep. Wilson won't be getting an invite to the next White House Bar-B-Q.

Obama is not amused by your heckling, Congressman

U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany (R-LA) offered the official GOP response which you can view after the jump.