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September 10, 2009

Biden: Health care bill may be in by Thanksgiving

WASHINGTON (AP) — Vice President Joe Biden asserted Thursday that a health care bill will be done by Thanksgiving because President Barack Obama has "re-centered debate" and there's an emerging bipartisan consensus for change despite fights over details like the government-run option.

"I think the most important thing he did, he also debunked a lot of the myths out there, the idea of death panels, that we were going to insure undocumented aliens," said Biden, touring the morning network news shows a day after Obama delivered what he hopes was a game-changing appeal to a joint session of Congress.

Obama went to Capitol Hill determined to sweep away a summer of gridlock on his top domestic priority, and his vice president argued that he'd accomplished just that in the nationally broadcast, prime-time address.

"I believe we will have a bill," Biden said. "I've been in the Congress for a very long time, eight presidents. I believe we will have a bill before Thanksgiving."

Sen. John McCain, also interviewed Thursday morning, said he agreed that something needs to be done about health care. But he also said that if the administration wants to see legislation realized, it must reach out more aggressively to minority Republicans.

Asked if he thinks there should be health care overhaul legislation, the Arizona Republican replied, "I really hope so. ... It's good for America. We need to do it, but it has to be bipartisan. We can't lay another trillion dollars of debt on the next generation ... It's generational theft."

Obama on Wednesday night addressed Washington insiders and Americans with and without health insurance, in addition to the lawmakers arrayed before him in the cavernous House chamber. He spelled out where he stands on key issues. And while some of his explanations — notably on costs — were incomplete, he left no doubt he's taking ownership.

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