*President Barack Obama takes on the bitter healthcare reform debate on Wednesday with a high-stakes speech to the U.S. Congress on his top domestic policy priority.
Aides have promised Obama’s nationally televised address will provide specifics about his vision for overhauling the $2.5 trillion U.S. healthcare system — although they said he will not offer his own legislation.
“The president will outline his plan moving forward,” both on healthcare and how to get a bill passed by Congress, said spokesman Robert Gibbs. “I don’t think you’ll walk away confused about where he is.”
Obama told ABC News in an interview he would use his speech to “make sure that Democrats and Republicans understand that I’m open to new ideas, that we’re not being rigid and ideological about this thing, but we do intend to get something done this year.”
One administration official said the president would articulate his vision of bringing affordable coverage to those who do not have insurance and more security to those who do.
“His plan will bring reforms that will reduce the unsustainable growth in the cost of health care, which has doubled in the last decade and will again, unless we act,” said the official, who requested anonymity.
The address to a joint session of Congress will start at 8 p.m. Eastern and last for about 30 minutes, Gibbs said. Polls say many Americans plan to watch.
For MORE of this Reuters report by Patricia Zengerle, click HERE.