Skip to main content

Advanced Search

Advanced Search

Current Filters

Filter your query

Publication Types



Newsletter Article


Obama Says Massachusetts 'Buzz Saw' Won't End Overhaul

By Jane Norman, CQ HealthBeat Associate Editor

January 22, 2010 -- President Obama said at a town hall meeting in Ohio Friday that his push to revamp the nation's health care system has "run into a bit of a buzz saw along the way" but he won't walk away.

Obama, appearing at Lorain County Community College, said that he always knew that it was going to be tough to pass a health care overhaul through Congress but he wanted to curb rising costs as well as insurance industry abuses.

"The long process of getting things done runs headlong into the special interests, their armies of lobbyists, and partisan politics aimed at exploiting fears instead of getting things done," he said. "And the longer it's taken, the uglier the process has looked."

Advocates of the health care measures spearheaded by Democrats in the Senate (HR 3590) and House (HR 3962) suffered a setback following the Jan. 19 special election of Republican Scott P. Brown to the Senate seat in Massachusetts left vacant by the death of Democrat Edward M. Kennedy. Brown adds a 41st vote to the GOP minority, giving them the ability to mount successful filibusters.

"I know folks in Washington are in a little bit of a frenzy this week, trying to figure out what the election in Massachusetts the other day means for health insurance reform, for Republicans and Democrats, and for me. This is what they love to do," said Obama.

"But this isn't about me. It's about you. I didn't take up this issue to boost my poll numbers or score political points—believe me, if I were, I would have picked something a lot easier than this," he said.

He added: "And I am not going to walk away just because it's hard. We're going to keep on working to get this done with Democrats, Republicans—anyone who is willing to step up. Because I am not going to watch more people get crushed by costs, or denied the care they need by insurance company bureaucrats, or partisan politics, or special interest power in Washington."

Meanwhile, a new poll found that dissatisfaction with the country's direction, opposition to the health care bills and a dislike of federal government activism all fueled Brown's come-from-behind victory. The poll by the Washington Post, the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation and Harvard University's School of Public Health found 63 percent of voters in the special election think the nation is seriously off track.

Publication Details