"President Obama slammed the health insurance industry and Republicans yesterday as the enemies of health care overhaul," the AP writes. "But the president's immediate roadblocks to achieving his top domestic priority are within his own Democratic Party, as congressional lawmakers remain unable to find a procedural and political path to final passage."
The New York Times: "President Obama continued his drive for a health care overhaul on Wednesday, ordering a crackdown on Medicare and Medicaid waste and fraud, while in Washington, House leaders said they hoped to have a completed bill to present to rank and file members Thursday morning."
This is interesting: "As they push to finish health-care legislation by the end of the month, Democratic leaders in Congress are weighing whether to add another of President Obama's priorities to the package: a popular proposal to overhaul the federal student loan program. The move could clear the way for Obama to claim victory on two of his most significant domestic initiatives in a single signing ceremony. Administration officials and House leaders have pressed aggressively for the addition in recent days. But key senators are objecting to the move, arguing that political resistance in the Senate and the rapidly rising cost of the education measure could jeopardize efforts to push health-care reform to final passage. 'I think it threatens the health-care bill,' said Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) 'It would threaten to sink them both.'"
"A group of Hispanic lawmakers on Thursday will tell President Barack Obama that they may not vote for healthcare reform unless changes are made to the bill's immigration provisions," The Hill reports. On the policy: "The bill bans illegal immigrants from buying into the health-care system. Hispanic lawmakers "claim that while it may be politically popular in some parts of the country to ban illegal immigrants from using their own money to buy coverage, it is not good policy. Illegal immigrants will, one way or another, need medical attention in the United States, and it would be cheaper and more humane to provide them coverage if they pay for it. Otherwise, they will seek treatments in the nation's emergency rooms, effectively increasing medical costs."
And in advance of his meeting with the Congressional Black Caucus, Politico writes: "The 43-member caucus is fighting through one of the most difficult periods in its 39-year history, and some members and aides said they're getting far too little support from the nation's first black president -- a man they once believed would be their strongest champion. House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-Mich.) told POLITICO that White House officials are "not listening" to black lawmakers. Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.) said "there's not enough attention to poor people."