Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Obama Healthcare Overhaul Timeline

Timeline of Obama's healthcare overhaul.

Chronology of President Barack Obama's efforts this year to overhaul health care:

--Feb. 24: In a speech to Congress, Obama says the "crushing cost" of health care is driving families and small businesses into bankruptcy and hobbling U.S. companies in global economic competition.

--Feb. 26: Obama's first budget seeks $634 billion over 10 years as a down payment on health care overhaul.

--March 5: Obama hosts health care summit. Says Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass.: "I'm looking forward to being a foot soldier in this undertaking, and this time we will not fail."

--March 10: Obama's budget director, Peter Orszag, rebuffs congressional demands for specifics on the administration's multibillion-dollar plans for health care, telling lawmakers that deciding how the money is spent is largely up to them.

--May 11: Obama praises the health care industry's promise to cut $2 trillion in costs over 10 years.

--May 12: Senators are considering limiting, but not eliminating, the tax-free status of employer-provided health benefits to help pay for health care plan.

--May 14: House Democrats are crafting a plan that would require all Americans to carry health insurance and would help families making less than $88,000 pay the premiums.

--May 21: Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., says illegal immigrants won't be entitled to medical insurance under the health legislation.

--May 28: Obama warns that if Congress doesn't deliver health care legislation by the end of the year, the opportunity will be lost.

--June 1: Health industry officials seek to make good on a $2 trillion savings proposal but come up short by several hundred billion dollars.

--June 3: Obama releases a letter to Kennedy and Baucus saying he believes strongly in the need for a new public plan.

--June 9: Obama proposes budget rules that would allow Congress to borrow tens of billions of dollars and put the nation deeper in debt to jump-start the health care overhaul.

--June 10: Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., offers possible compromise in health care debate. His plan would create health care cooperatives owned by groups of residents and small businesses.

--June 17: American Medical Association signals it will work with Obama, leave door open to public option insurance.

--June 20: The pharmaceutical industry agrees to spend $80 billion over the next decade improving Medicare drug benefits and defraying the cost of Obama's health care legislation.

--June 23: Obama says a government-run health insurance option is needed "to discipline insurance companies."

--June 28: The Obama administration leaves open the possibility that the president would break a campaign promise and raise taxes on people earning less than $250,000 to support his health care overhaul.

--July 15: With a 13-10 party-line vote, the Senate health committee approves a plan to revamp health care. The panel's action comes as the president's campaign organization rolled out television ads to build support for his top domestic priority.

--July 18: Obama says his health care overhaul is financially sound, but an analysis by congressional budget experts of emerging House legislation says it would increase deficits by $239 billion over a decade.

--July 20: Obama pushes back hard against Republican critics of his health care overhaul plan, dismissing the "politics of the moment" marked by GOP comparisons of his efforts to socialism.

--July 22: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says Democrats command the votes needed to pass a sweeping health care bill through the House.

--July 23: Senate Democrats tell Obama to slow down, dashing hopes of rushing his sweeping health care overhaul to a summertime vote. Obama says Senate's delay in health care bill is "OK."

--July 29: Obama travels to Raleigh, N.C., and Bristol, Va., for town halls. Meanwhile, House Democratic leaders give in to numerous demands from conservative "Blue Dogs," who had been blocking the health care bill's passage in the last of three committees.

--July 31: Democrats narrowly push health care legislation through the House Energy and Commerce Committee by a 31-28 vote, the last of three panels.

--Aug. 2: White House adviser Larry Summers says he can't rule out a tax on middle-class Americans to pay for Obama's health care overhaul.

--Aug. 3: White House says Obama remains opposed to any tax increase for families earning less than $250,000.

--Aug. 5: In Indiana, Obama says he's determined to get an overhaul of the health care system before the end of the year and, if necessary, without bipartisan support.

--Aug. 7: Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin calls Obama's health plan "downright evil."

--Aug. 11: In New Hampshire, Obama says that while government bureaucrats should not meddle with people's care, bureaucrats at insurance companies should not, either.

--Aug. 16: Bowing to Republican pressure and an uneasy public, Obama administration members suggest the administration is ready to abandon the idea of giving Americans the option of government-run insurance as part of a new health care system.

--Aug. 18: White House spokesman Robert Gibbs insists the Obama administration has not shifted its goals on health care reform or distanced itself from a government-run public insurance option.

--Aug. 22: Obama challenges critics of his push to overhaul the health care system to stop making "phony claims" about proposals now the subject of intense coast-to-coast debate.

--Sept. 2: Obama announces plans to address to a joint session of Congress on health care on Sept. 9.


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