Washington braces for Obama healthcare speech

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(AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)

Healthcare reform has been the debate gripping Washington recently.

After a string of appearances and interviews, President Obama looks for his widest audience on the topic tonight.

Expect him to offer a dose of reassurance about change.

“If you like current plan you will be able to keep it. Let me repeat that, if you like your plan you’ll be able to keep it,” said Obama.

Polls show most Americans back his reform ideas…from an individual mandate to a government-run insurance option, but are wary of the trillion-dollar cost.

“We’re making significant headway,” said Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont).

Lawmakers are haggling over how to bring it down and how to pay it.

Conservative house democrats went to the white house and threatened revolt on voters’ behalf.

Rep. Mike Ross (D-Ark) said, “They want us to squeeze every ounce of savings we can out of current system that’s what we’re demanding.”

Republicans see the majority splintering.

“Either this bill fails or it will change dramatically,” said Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA).

Experts are split too.

The Mayo Clinic warned the house plan would lower quality and raise costs.

Dr. Denis A. Cortese, President and CEO of the Mayo Clinic, said, “Even though they’re moving in the right direction, we don’t think they’ve gone far enough.”

The nation’s biggest doctors’ group supports it.

“By improving quality, reducing unnecessary costs we totally agree with it,” said Dr. James Rohack, the President of the American Medical Association.

Backers of reform are looking to the president.

“Barack Obama is the quarterback,” said Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev). “He’s been calling the plays.”