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Obama's State of the Union address: A call to finish the healthcare overhaul

January 27, 2010 |  6:46 pm

Health If there is any issue that symbolizes President Obama’s freshman frustration and his sophomore promise, it is overhauling healthcare. As Congress tries to resolve conflicting viewpoints, between liberal and conservative, between Democrat and Republican, Obama has seen his signature domestic issue become bogged down.

Tonight, Obama issued another stirring call to act, coupled with a plea for everyone to work together to resolve the impasse.

“By the time I’m finished speaking tonight, more Americans will have lost their health insurance. Millions will lose it this year. Our deficit will grow. Premiums will go up. Patients will be denied the care they need. Small-business owners will continue to drop coverage altogether. I will not walk away from these Americans, and neither should the people in this chamber,” Obama said.

Obama didn’t explain how to fix the stalemate, but in an echo of his community-organizer past he called on the parties to come together.

“As temperatures cool, I want everyone to take another look at the plan we’ve proposed,” Obama said, adding that many of the proposals are an improvement of the current healthcare system.

“But if anyone from either party has a better approach that will bring down premiums, bring down the deficit, cover the uninsured, strengthen Medicare for seniors, and stop insurance company abuses, let me know,” the president insisted.

“Here’s what I ask of Congress, though: Do not walk away from reform. Not now. Not when we are so close. Let us find a way to come together and finish the job for the American people.”

Republicans want to start the healthcare debate all over again. Democrats are weighing several legislative approaches to resolve the different versions passed by the House and Senate.

-- Michael Muskal

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President Barack Obama gestures as he delivers his State of the Union address on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2010. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)