Baucus: President Must Address Health Care Reform

By Beacon Staff

Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., is urging President Barack Obama to address health care reform in his speech to Congress Tuesday night. With the economy floundering, and Obama’s first choice for secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, Tom Daschle, withdrawing from consideration after questions arose over unpaid taxes, there has been speculation that any potential health care reform would be delayed.

But Baucus told state Democratic lawmakers last week that he had been urging Obama’s Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, to see that strong language on health care reform is used in Obama’s first major address to Congress. And Tuesday, Montana’s senior senator continued to press the president. His e-mail in its entirety:

(Washington DC) Montana Senator Max Baucus today called on President Barack Obama to address health care reform in a major speech tonight.

The President’s speech will be a Joint Address to both members of the House of Representatives and the Senate and is the first time that President Obama has formally addressed Congress.

“Tonight will be an important night for President Obama, he can really set the tone for his administration,” Baucus said. “And I urge him to address health care. With the challenges our economy is facing, health care reform is a key way to get the economy back on track.”

Recently, Baucus and President Obama worked together to expand the Children’s Health Insurance Program which Baucus said was a “good down payment” on health care reform.

“Expanding CHIP was a good first step, but we have more to do” said Baucus, who is the Chairman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee which has jurisdiction over CHIP. “Reforming health care will help get the budget under control, and get Montana’s, and America’s, economy humming again.’

Baucus was vital in helping President Obama pass the recent Jobs Bill that will provide more than $600 million dollars to Montana and protect or create 11,000 Montana jobs.

“I want to thank Max Baucus, Chairman of the Finance Committee, without whom none of this would have happened,” said Obama, as he signed the bill into law.

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