President Obama hopes to refocus health care debate with speech to Congress - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

President Obama hopes to refocus health care debate with speech to Congress

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WASHINGTON. - One day before President Obama goes before Congress and the American people to get more specific about his prescription for health care reform, there is more pressure on the President on the so called 'public option.'

Back in session Tuesday for the health care fight, the Senate  remembered Ted Kennedy who would have led the push for optional government health insurance.

Outside the White House, demonstrators urged President Obama not to give up on that.

"What do we want? Public Option," chanted a gathered crowd.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says her bill, at least the first version, will have it.

"As far as our House members are concerned, the overwhelming majority of them support a public option," said Pelosi.

Aides are warning allies like the AFL-CIO that President Obama will not insist on government insurance in his address to Congress tomorrow night due in part to blue dog conservative Democrats like Mike Ross.

Last month Ross agreed to government insurance, then caught heat at his townhalls in Arkansas.

Ross has changed his mind. He and several other Democrats will vote no if the public option's included.

Tuesday, Republicans said start over.

"You know the American people don't want another speech on health care, they want another plan on health care," argued Indiana Representative (R) Mike Pence.

Meanwhile, President Obama has met with lawmakers to come up with ways to push through a health care overhaul. One proposal being circulated would call for fines for those who fail to obtain mandatory health care coverage.

President's Obama's address starts at 5 p.m. (PDT). KHQ will carry the event live.

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