President Obama is scheduled to speak about health care--to make his closing pitch for reform--at 1:45 p.m. today, and the White House has released some early excerpts of what he'll say.
The president will tout his proposal as a final version of health care reform that has been refined and improved over the last year, casting the drawn-out and politically bruising road as, ultimately, a constructive one:
So this is our proposal. This is where we've ended up. It's an approach that has been debated and changed and I believe improved over the last year. It incorporates the best ideas from Democrats and Republicans - including some of the ideas that Republicans offered during the health care summit, like funding state grants on medical malpractice reform and curbing waste, fraud, and abuse in the health care system. My proposal also gets rid of many of the provisions that had no place in health care reform - provisions that were more about winning individual votes in Congress than improving health care for all Americans.
And he'll pose the closing effort to pass his proposal as a test not just of that proposal, but of Washington's ability to get anything done, period:
At stake right now is not just our ability to solve this problem, but our ability to solve any problem. The American people want to know if it's still possible for Washington to look out for their interests and their future. They are waiting for us to act. They are waiting for us to lead. And as long as I hold this office, I intend to provide that leadership. I don't know how this plays politically, but I know it's right. And so I ask Congress to finish its work, and I look forward to signing this reform into law.
In other words: Congress, it's on you.