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Obama to defend public health care option

President Barack Obama this week will defend his controversial push for a public health care option to be offered alongside existing private insurance plans, the White House said Sunday.

Obama's plans to remake re·make  
tr.v. re·made , re·mak·ing, re·makes
To make again or anew.

1. The act of remaking.

2. Something in remade form, especially a new version of an earlier movie or song.
 health care have been squeezed during a summer marked by volatile town hall meetings in which conservatives railed against changing the system.

But the president will try to breath new life into his reform effort with an address Wednesday to a rare joint session of the US Congress.

After the address, lawmakers and the public will know "exactly where the president stands, exactly what he thinks we have to do to get health care reform this year. And he intends to do it," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs Robert Gibb RSA (28 October 1845 - 11 February 1932) was a Scottish painter who was Keeper of the National Gallery of Scotland from 1895 to 1907 and was Painter and Limner to the King from 1908 until his death.  told ABC's "This Week" program.

"The president strongly believes that we have to have (a public) option like this to provide choice and competition, to provide a check on insurance companies," Gibbs added.

The speech is to come the day after US lawmakers return from a month-long August break, during which Obama's approval ratings slipped and doubts appeared to grow about his embattled em·bat·tled  
1. Prepared or fortified for battle or engaged in battle: embattled troops; an embattled city.

 efforts to extend medical care to many of the more than 46 million Americans who are presently uninsured.

It also follows the latest dour poll figures that show steep declines in Obama's approval ratings as Americans express growing discontent with the president's policy agenda.

A Pew Research Center The Pew Research Center is a "fact tank" based in Washington, D.C., that provides information on the issues, attitudes and trends shaping the USA and the world. The Center and its projects receive funding from The Pew Charitable Trusts.  poll released Friday has Obama's approval rating dropping 10 points, to 52 percent, since his 100-day mark in April, when efforts to haul the struggling economy out of recession were at center stage.

Obama's health care reform plans -- which formed a key plank of his presidential campaign last year -- have met a buzz saw of Republican opposition, as well as concern voiced by centrists in his own Democratic Party who say they will oppose the overhaul if it includes the so-called "public option."

But Gibbs insisted Obama "will talk about the public option and why he believes and continues to believe that it is a valuable component of providing choice and competition."

The spokesman said Democrats still believed they could draw support for a bill by some "Republicans that are ready, able, and willing to work with the president to try to provide a solution for this."

But conservatives like Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty Timothy James (Tim) Pawlenty (born November 27, 1960) is an American politician from the Republican Party. He is the 39th and current Governor of Minnesota, and started his term on January 6, 2003.  say a public option plan -- including a "trigger option" that would only go into effect years later if the private insurance industry does not enact reforms to cover more uninsured Americas -- would not find sufficient bipartisan support.

"The trigger option simply kicks the can down the road. All it does is delay the inevitable, and for a lot of reasons, it's a bad idea," Pawlenty told CNN CNN
 or Cable News Network

Subsidiary company of Turner Broadcasting Systems. It was created by Ted Turner in 1980 to present 24-hour live news broadcasts, using satellites to transmit reports from news bureaus around the world.

"I think, if the Democrats embrace the public option, even in the form of the trigger, they're going to shoot themselves in the foot."

Moderate Democratic Senator Ben Nelson has encouraged an incremental Additional or increased growth, bulk, quantity, number, or value; enlarged.

Incremental cost is additional or increased cost of an item or service apart from its actual cost.
 approach to reform, and supports a plan that would trigger a government-run public option, "but only as a failsafe backstop to the process," he told NBC's "Meet the Press."

Nelson also warned that the Democratic leadership "doesn't have a consensus at this point in time."

Obama faces pressure from core liberal supporters who have warned him not to dilute or drop plans to offer government-run health care in order to get sweeping legislation through the Congress.

Democrats stress too that Obama must not get derailed by conservative criticism that reform will mean government rationing rationing, allotment of scarce supplies, usually by governmental decree, to provide equitable distribution. It may be employed also to conserve economic resources and to reinforce price and production controls.  of health care or the imposition of so-called "death panels" that would rule on whether to administer care to the elderly or infirm INFIRM. Weak, feeble.
     2. When a witness is infirm to an extent likely to destroy his life, or to prevent his attendance at the trial, his testimony de bene esge may be taken at any age. 1 P. Will. 117; see Aged witness.; Going witness.
 -- accusations debunked by the Obama administration.

"I think he's got to stand up and lead and be strong," former Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean Howard Brush Dean III (born November 17, 1948) is an American politician and physician from the U.S. state of Vermont, and currently the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, the central organ of the Democratic Party at the national level.  told Fox News Sunday Fox News Sunday is a public affairs magazine on Fox, airing on Sunday mornings. The show, which began in 1996, is hosted by Chris Wallace. The show, which predates the launch of Fox News Channel, usually talks about items similar to Sunday-morning interview shows. .

"What people value more in a president than anything else is strength, and that's what we've got to see on this week."

Health care legislation has cleared three House committees, and leaders of major Senate panels have said they hope to unveil a draft bill around mid-September.
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Publication:AFP Global Edition
Date:Sep 6, 2009
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