Obama voices commitment to healthcare, transparency

17:32, January 28, 2010      

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U.S. President Barack Obama on Wednesday vowed to revive the stalled healthcare overhaul legislation, along with promoting transparency and reducing influence of lobbyists on U.S. politics.

REVIVING HEALTHCARE

"By the time I'm finished speaking tonight, more Americans will have lost their health insurance," Obama said in his first State of the Union address. "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," he promised, in response to suspicions that the president may give it up given severe setbacks in Congress and public unpopularity.

Healthcare has been one of Obama's top domestic legislative priorities since his year-ago inauguration. If not for Democrats' unexpected defeat in the recent Massachusetts Senate race, a sweeping healthcare legislation may have been mostly touted in the president's State of the Union address.

Democratic Party lost its "supermajority" in the Massachusetts Senate race, being deprived of the 60th Senate vote necessary to block filibuster -- a procedure used to stall and defeat legislation -- by Republican Senators.

Obama admitted that he should be blamed for not explaining his healthcare plan more clearly to the American people.

"This is a complex issue, and the longer it was debated, the more skeptical people became," he conceded.

ENHANCING TRANSPARENCY

"We have to recognize that we face more than a deficit of dollars right now. We face a deficit of trust -- deep and corrosive doubts about how Washington works that have been growing for years," Obama said.

He called on both the White House and Congress to take action "to end the outsized influence of lobbyists; to do our work openly; and to give our people the government they deserve."

Obama called on Congress to set up legislations that require lobbyists to disclose each contact they make on behalf of a client with the administration or Congress.

Once again, the president expressed his strong opposition to the Supreme Court ruling last week that overturned decades of law restricting political spending by corporation, unions and other organizations.

"I don't think American elections should be bankrolled by America's most powerful interests, or worse, by foreign entities. They should be decided by the American people, and that's why I'm urging Democrats and Republicans to pass a bill that helps to right this wrong," he said.

Before the Supreme Court's ruling, corporations had been banned since 1947 from using their profits to endorse or oppose political candidates.

Obama sharply condemned the ruling immediately after the court's announcement.

"It is a major victory for big oil, Wall Street banks, health insurance companies and the other powerful interests that marshal their power every day in Washington to drown out the voices of everyday Americans," he said.

Source: Xinhua
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