Washington — Casting health care overhaul as a legacy for the American people and failure as politically unthinkable, President Barack Obama on Sunday rallied Senate Democrats to deliver on their party’s half-century quest to expand the social safety net by providing access for all.
At the Capitol during a rare Sunday session of the Senate, Obama delivered a closed-door pep talk to the fractious Democratic caucus that lasted about 45 minutes. Deep divisions remain over abortion coverage, but there was hope for compromise on whether the government should directly offer health insurance in competition with private companies.
“They’re going to get it done,” Obama said as he left. He avoided specifics in the meeting with senators and took no questions.
The health care legislation — Obama’s signature domestic policy goal — would provide coverage to more than 30 million additional people over the next decade with a new requirement for nearly everyone to purchase insurance. There would be new marketplaces where people could shop for and compare insurance plans, and lower-income people would get subsidies to help them afford coverage.
The federal-state Medicaid program for the poor would be expanded, and there would be a ban on unpopular insurance company practices such as denying coverage based on medical history.