President Obama calls for “Up or Down” vote on health care insurance reform

Facing opposition from the political right and the left, President Obama pushed back, decrying parliamentary stall tactics and reminding the American people that the current bill promises to enact principles Democrats fought for a decade ago.

Likely referencing President Clinton’s 1998 “Patients Bill of Rights” initiative, President Obama restated its objectives:

“The last time a ‘Patients Bill of Rights’ was within reach was roughly a decade ago . . . It included the right to an appeals process so you could challenge an unfair decision by an insurance company before a third party. It included the right to choose your own doctor. It included the right to access information about what your health insurance plan means for you. And it called for a new level of transparency so that patients would know if their doctor had a conflict of interest when providing services.”

President Obama continued by arguing that such principles are now in the current legislation before Congress:

“Both the House and the Senate bills would make it against the law for insurance companies to deny you coverage on the basis of a pre-existing condition or illness. Both would stop insurers from charging exorbitant premiums on the basis of age, health, or gender. Both would prevent insurance companies from dropping your coverage when you get sick. And both would put a limit on how much you have to pay out of pocket for the treatments you need in a year or a lifetime. Simply put, the protections currently included in both the health insurance reform bill passed by the House and the version currently on the Senate floor would represent the toughest measures we’ve ever taken to hold the insurance industry accountable. Anyone who says otherwise simply hasn’t read the bills.”

See video address after the jump . . .

Lastly, President Obama castigated lobbying efforts aimed at killing health care insurance reform and called for an “Up or Down” vote on the legislation:

“But now, for the first time, there is a clear majority in the Senate that’s willing to stand up to the insurance lobby and embrace lasting health insurance reforms that have eluded us for generations. The question is whether the minority that opposes these reforms will continue to use parliamentary maneuvers to try and stop the Senate from voting on them. Whatever their position on health insurance reform, senators ought to allow an up or down vote.”

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