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Kai Ryssdal: The president’s a big basketball fan, as you may know. And as such he understands the importance I’m sure of good defense, keeping pressuring on your opponents to force them to play your game. At a town hall meeting in Wisconsin today the president applied the legislative equivalent of a full court press on health care as our Washington bureau chief John Dimsdale reports.
JOHN DIMSDALE: At $2.5 trillion a year, President Obama said the U.S. has the most expensive health-care system in the world. And for the health of the economy, he said something must be done.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Today we’ve already built an unprecedented coalition of people who are ready to reform our health-care system: physicians and health insurers, businesses and workers, Democrats and Republicans.
But there are growing cracks in that coalition as Congress works out the details, such as the proposal for a government-run insurance option for the uninsured. House Republicans today rejected that idea. Missouri’s Roy Blunt.
ROY BLUNT: This idea of a government takeover of health care simply will not fly with the American people.
But there are 50 million uninsured Americans and reformers say that’s why the system needs fixing. The Kaiser Family Foundation’s Diane Rowland is a veteran of health-reform efforts.
DIANE ROWLAND: Years ago we were looking at a single proposal put out there and then taken apart. Instead, what we have here is trying to work through to get more consensus before there’s a single proposal.
The president’s full court press continues Monday with a speech to the American Medical Association. The AMA has put the administration on notice that doctors don’t support a government plan that forces them to participate. But the AMA says it is committed to passing reform this year.
In Washington, I’m John Dimsdale for Marketplace.
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