Obama to address Congress on health care

Sept. 5, 2009

It isn't hard to find supporters for a health care overhaul, but finding agreement on what changes to make is the real challenge. The president could be facing his eleventh hour in the battle for health care reform, which has become increasingly bitter and divided.

"This is make or break time for President Obama on health care because the public has turned so sour, and he's got a divided Congress," said David Gergen, Harvard University, Kennedy school of government

With congress preparing to make sweeping changes on how Americans get their health care, people around the nation have shown up at town hall meetings to express strong opinions both for and against reform.

The president will try to shift public opinion back to his corner when he addresses a joint session of Congress for the second time this year. Pres. Bill Clinton attempted a similar move during the 1990s, but his health care reform proposal was defeated.

Obama tried to avoid Clinton's pitfalls by giving Congress control over writing up a health care bill. Congressional lawmakers have spent much of the summer recess trying to negotiate a compromise, but some reports indicate the gap between both sides may be widening.

In the Republican's weekly address, Minnesota Congressman John Kline said it's time to start from ground zero.

"Democrats have crafted this legislation behind closed doors," he said. "It's complicated, it's convoluted, and it's quite simply not going to work. It's time to press the 'reset' button."

Despite the divisive politics, lawmakers on both sides remain committed to fixing a health care system most agree is broken.

"If I end up casting a vote that costs me my job, and if I think I'm doing the right thing for most American families, then that's a badge of honor I will wear for a long time," said Democrat John Varmuth of Kentucky.

President Obama was at Camp David over the weekend, but he called several members of Congress from Camp David to discuss health care reform.

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