Obama rolls up sleeves in an effort to win over wary public

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Obama opens the door for drastic new Medicare, Medicaid cuts for nursing homes
Obama opens the door for drastic new Medicare, Medicaid cuts for nursing homes
President Obama returned to campaign trail mode in recent weeks, seeking to clarify aspects of healthcare reform legislation and boost waning public support.

Over the course of three town-hall meetings last month, he honed in on the ideas behind healthcare reform. He also accused critics of using scare tactics to derail reform efforts.

“What is truly scary, what is truly risky, is if we do nothing,” Obama said.

He tried to clear up the misperception that the government would create “death panels” as part of reform. This rumor stemmed from a provision in the House bill that would allow Medicare to pay for voluntary end-of-life counseling for seniors and their families. He said that such fears are unfounded and said that the purpose of the provision is to offer information to people.

Obama also tried to dispel concerns among seniors that there would be a rationing of care, and less access to physicians. The House bill would trim $563 billion out of Medicare's growth rate over the next 10 years.

AARP, the seniors advocacy group, also worked to clear up misconceptions. Still, it made clear that it had not officially endorsed any congressional healthcare reform legislation, as Obama erroneously claimed at a town-hall meeting.