`Granny is safe`: Obama mocks foes on health care

Republicans have variously claimed that the health care plan will kill jobs.

Washington: US President Barack Obama on Friday denied claims his historic health care reform was a "job crushing, Granny threatening, budget-busting monstrosity”, slamming Republicans bent on repealing the law.

Obama, driving home messages from his State of the Union address on Tuesday, charged that plans to overturn the law would send health care premiums skyrocketing and put private insurance giants back in control of care.

"We have to keep on telling people across the country about the potential of this reform and what it means for their families," Obama said, in a new and heart-felt attempt to redefine the law in the eyes of voters.

Obama mocked the tone of the attacks by conservatives who found political advantage in fanning public early public opposition to the plan.

"You may have heard once or twice that this is a job-crushing, Granny-threatening, budget-busting monstrosity," he said.

"That`s about how it`s been portrayed by opponents. And that just doesn`t match up to the reality. I mean this thing has been in place now for 10 months."

Republicans have variously claimed that the health care plan includes rationing for end of life care, would explode the deficit and will kill jobs, as employers struggle to pay for what they say will be rising health premiums.

"I can report that Granny is safe," Obama quipped in a speech at a conference sponsored by Families USA, a non-profit organisation devoted to ensuring quality health care for all Americans.

"We don`t believe that people should have to hope against hope that they are healthy.

"We don`t believe in a country like ours that one in eight, (or) one in ten of our citizens should be that vulnerable -- no matter how hard they are working."

Opinion polls have found the US public deeply divided over the health law, but only roughly one in five in favour of outright repeal, while others say the overhaul needs to be stronger and some want only some parts rolled back.

Obama said in his "State of the Union" speech that he was "eager" to work with Republicans to make small improvements in the law but was not willing to reconsider a complete repeal.

The new Republican-led House of Representatives has already voted to repeal the health reform law, which reins in insurance firms and seeks to offer near universal care to Americans for the first time.

But Democratic leaders in the Senate have no plans to allow a repeal vote, and even in the highly unlikely event that such a bill passed, Obama stands ready with his veto pen.

Bureau Report