Biden Predicts Reform By Thanksgiving after Obama Challenge

UPDATED 8:55 p.m. ET

Vice President Joe Biden expects a health care reform bill "before Thanksgiving" after saying President Obama had successfully re-centered the debate during his highly touted on health care reform Wednesday night.

"What the president did was re-center the debate because he said if you like thing the way they are, go ahead don't participate. But all of you who you thinks there's a need for real reform, you have to get in the game," Biden said during an appearance on CBS' "The Early Show" Thursday.

Biden offered his pre-Thanksgiving prediction for legislation while making the rounds on other morning news shows, with appearances on ABC's "Good Morning America," and NBC's "Today" show.

And despite the vitriol that has surrounded much of the debate – including South Carolina Republican Joe Wilson shouting out "you lie" during President Obama's speech – Biden said at bipartisan solution was still possible.

"Because if you notice what also happened immediately, member of his own party denounced what he said and how he demeaned the Congress and he apologized. So I think the real message here is how quickly the republican leadership distanced themselves from the congressman's assertion," he told "Early Show" co-anchor Harry Smith.

CBSNews.com Special Report: Health Care

Biden said there we "overwhelming agreement" on several issues – including the need for "massive insurance reform so you could not have companies deny coverage when you had insurance."

The vice president literally laughed off claims that the government would set up "death panels" to expedite end-of-life care for seniors and that the president's plan would cover illegal immigrants – claims made most recently by former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin in a Wall Street Journal column, Smith noted.

"What can I say?" Biden asked after a lengthy chuckle. "Look, the fact of the matter is that the people in that chamber don't believe it – 85 percent of the members of both parties know that's not true."

Biden also stuck to the president's pledge that he would not sign a plan that would increase the deficit.

"Anybody who has a brain and listened to him would know that he meant exactly what he said. He didn't say it wasn't going to cost any money. He said unlike the last few proposals like the bush proposal with regard to prescription drugs, we're not going to add it to the burden of our children. We're going to pay for on it. And he laid out how he's going to pay for it. He said there's an incredible amount of waste in Medicare and Medicaid - every expert agrees on that."

After Smith challenged him with a Congressional Budget Office projection that the program would not pay for itself, Biden said eliminating waste in Medicare and Medicaid was just one measure designed to control costs.

"That's a big chunk of it. Then [the president] went on and he pointed out there's going to be a fee on insurance companies who issue these gold-plated policies with … Wall Street types getting $40,000 health insurance policies … that raises billions of dollars."

Full CBSNews.com coverage of the president's speech on health care:

Obama Tells Congress to Stop Bickering
Full Video Full Transcript Speech Highlights
GOP Response: "It's Time to Start Over"
Marc Ambinder: Will Obama's Sales Job Work?
Mark Knoller: Obama Willing to Compromise — Up to a Point
Was Obama Clear on the Public Option?
Ted Kennedy's Letter to Obama
Rep. Wilson Apologizes for Obama Speech Outburst
Analysis: The Road Ahead for Health Care
  • Daniel Carty

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