Did President Obama Rule Out Scaling Back Health Care Reform?

The White House hasn’t ruled out paring down the health care bill into smaller pieces, but during his jobs even in Ohio today, President Obama emphasized that the health care reform provisions are interconnected and suggested that they could not effectively reduce costs or increase access as separate pieces of legislation. “A lot of these insurance reforms are connected to some other things we have to do to make sure everyone has some access to coverage,” he said.

Obama admitted that “the process” of passing health care reform “has been less than pretty” but stressed that “when you deal with 535 members of Congress, it’s gonna be a somewhat ugly process.” “When you put it all together it just starts looking like this monstrosity and it makes people fearful and it makes people afraid,” he said:

There are things that have to get done. This is our best chance to do it. We can’t keep on putting this off….The point is this, none of the big issues that we face in this country are simple. Everybody wants to act like they’re simple. Everyone wants to say that they can be done easily, but they’re complicated, they’re tough. The health care system is a big, complicated system and doing it right is hard…We can’t sort of start saying to ourselves America or Congress can’t do big things, that we should only do the things that are noncontroversial. We should only do the stuff that’s safe. Because if that’s what happens then we’re not going to meet the challenges of the 21st century. And that’s not who we are. That’s not how we used to operate and that’s not how I intend us to operate going forward.

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“Nearly four dozen health care experts” have sent a letter to Congress urging the House to adopt the Senate bill and a separate reconciliation package. The experts criticized proposals to slim down reform. “From the perspective of both politics and policy, we do not believe that this is a feasible option,” they wrote. “Indeed we doubt that any bill would reach the President’s desk should congressional leaders pursue this misguided course.”