Commentary: President Obama steps up on health care

President Obama finally reversed his above-the-fray stance on health care reform. Up until now, he left details of a bill up to the House and Senate, which after a year of debate have struggled to find common ground. The longer the wrangling has gone on, the more dissatisfied the public has become.

Obama published his own plan, eliminating special deals such as the so-called "Cornhusker kickback" for Nebraska, and taking elements from the already passed House and Senate bills. As he promised, Obama posted his proposal online 72 hours before a Thursday summit with congressional leaders (see www.whitehouse.gov/health-care-meeting/proposal).

While Americans justifiably are frustrated with the politicians, they still want action. A Feb. 8 Washington Post/ABC poll asked voters, "Do you think lawmakers in Washington should keep trying to pass a comprehensive health care reform plan, or should give up on comprehensive health care reform?" Sixty-three percent said, "Keep trying to pass."

Thursday's summit is a last-ditch attempt to build support among wavering Democrats and resisting Republicans, but Obama should leave no doubt that the time has come for action. No excuses.

The Democrats have large majorities in both houses (59 of 100 Senate seats; 233 of 435 House seats). The American people deserve an up or down vote. If the majority Democrats fail to make that happen, the blame rests squarely on them.

To read the complete editorial, visit www.sacbee.com.