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Obama Calls for Action on Health Care Amid Cost Concerns

Saying "now we've got to get over the finish line," President Barack Obama renewed his call Friday to lawmakers to hammer out health care reform legislation. Betty Ann Bowser recaps the week's developments, including new concerns on the plan's costs.

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  • JIM LEHRER:

    Next tonight, an update on the battle over health care reform, and to Ray Suarez.

  • RAY SUAREZ:

    It was a busy week on that front in Washington. Democrats in the House and Senate moved forward on different bills. The president made a major push today and throughout the week to get legislation on his desk.

    But Democrats hit a big stumbling block over new warnings about the cost of a bill.

    Our health correspondent, Betty Ann Bowser, has been tracking the story, and she joins me now. The Health Unit is a partnership with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

    Betty Ann, good to see you. The president didn't even have a public schedule today. Then, suddenly, the spokesman's briefing is canceled and he comes out and talks to reporters himself. Why?

    BETTY ANN BOWSER That's right. We weren't expecting to hear from him today. I think you could best say what he was doing was some damage control. He came out and made a statement about health care reform late today. And here's what he had to say.

  • PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:

    Now we've got to get over the finish line. And part of this process is figuring out how to pay for it.

    I've said that health insurance reform cannot add to our deficit over the next decade. And I mean it. I realize that the last few miles of any race are the hardest to run, but I have to say, now is not the time to slow down, and now is certainly not the time to lose heart.

  • Make no mistake:

    If we step back from this challenge at this moment, we are consigning our children to a future of skyrocketing premiums and crushing deficits.