President Obama took his increasingly populist health care overhaul pitch to the political battleground state of Missouri Wednesday, turning up the heat on private health insurers in a speech.
“What we’re proposing is a common-sense approach to protecting you from insurance company abuses, and saving you money,” said Obama, his shirtsleeves rolled up in the 75-degree heat. “That’s the proposal and it’s paid for. I believe Congress owes the American people a final up-or-down vote on health care reform.”
He added, “The time for talk is over. It’s time to vote.”
Obama said many of the changes would be paid for by cutting waste in health care, which he said is estimated to have cost taxpayers almost $100 billion last year.
He likened the national debate about proposed changes to the current system to previous debates that swirled around the topic, including the passage of Medicare in 1965, and before.
“We’ve been debating it for 70 years,” he said.
Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Mississippi, predicted such a turn of events would be politically catastrophic for the Democrats.
If Senate bill passes, it will be “the paramount issue that will see a lot of [Democrats] going home for good after the November elections,” he said.