44° Good Afternoon
44° Good Afternoon

Democrats push for Obama's health care overhaul

WASHINGTON - Democrats pushed hard to revive President Barack Obama's stalled health care overhaul on Friday - and pointed to glimmers of hope - but the long odds facing them seemed little changed after Obama's summit with both parties' leaders.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Obama would unveil a "way forward" next week.

White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and top adviser David Axelrod discussed health care in a meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). And a spokesman for Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) said White House officials have asked Coburn to submit details of suggestions he made Thursday on rooting out fraud.

In addition, a pair of retiring Democrats who opposed the legislation when the House approved it in November appeared willing to reconsider. And some supporters of a House provision strictly banning federal funds for abortion showed an openness to different language.

Spokesmen for House and Senate GOP leaders said Friday the party does not plan a formal response to Obama, having made clear that Democrats should scrap their bills.

Gibbs said Obama would likely unveil his proposal Wednesday. He suggested it would be updated with concepts put forth by Republicans at the summit.

By revealing now that Obama would announce his way forward next week, he was not signaling that Republicans have until Wednesday to get on board, said an administration official, but the move was part of a natural follow-up to the summit.

The primary problem for Democratic leaders is the House, which approved its bill 220-215 in November. But the only GOP affirmative vote, Rep. Joseph Cao of Louisiana, now says he will oppose the bill. The GOP victory in last month's special Massachusetts Senate election and the bill's modest showing in polls have further reduced supporters.