The health care bill cleared a key procedural hurdle in the wee hours of Monday morning, securing 60 votes to overcome a Republican-led filibuster. A final vote on the bill is expected on Christmas Eve.
"The United States Senate knocked down a filibuster aimed at blocking a final vote on health care reform and scored a big victory for the American people," Mr. Obama said Monday at the White House. "By standing up to the special interests who prevented reform for decades and who are furiously lobbying against it now, the Senate has moved us closer to reform that makes a tremendous difference for families, for seniors, for businesses, and for the country as a whole."
The president continued by touting what's in the bill. He said it would mean "greater security and stability" to those that have insurance. Small businesses and those without health insurance now, he added, would "finally be able to get insurance at a price that they can afford with tax credits to help."
The president also took aim at critics at the cost of the $871 billion bill.
"The Congressional Budget Office now reports that this bill will reduce our deficit by $132 billion over the first decade and by as much as $1.3 trillion in the decade after that," Mr. Obama said. "So I just want to be clear, for all those who are continually carping about how this is somehow a big spending government bill, this cuts our deficit by $132 billion the first 10 years and by over $1 trillion in the second. That argument that opponents are making against this bill does not hold water."
Mr. Obama made the remarks before a speech on how to make the government more efficient and effective. The White House event also honored Nancy Fichtner, a Veterans Affairs Department employee from Loma, Colorado. She won the government's Securing Americans Value and Efficiency (SAVE) award for suggesting that veterans leaving VA hospitals be able to take the medicine they've been using home instead of it being thrown away.