House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has assured President Barack Obama that legislation undertaking an overhaul of the health care system will be on the House floor before the August recess.
"That's the kind of energy and determination that we need," the president said at the White House, standing on the south driveway with Pelosi and Democratic leaders of the relevant House committees.
"We are not going to rest until we have delivered," Obama said. "Our health care system is broken."
Pelosi, D-Calif., and other House Democrats had met with Obama and Vice President Joe Biden in the Oval Office just before going outside to make their announcement. No Republicans were present.
"We promised him that we will have this important legislation on the floor of the House before the August break," Pelosi announced. "Our goal is to have a healthier America."
Neither the speaker nor the president offered details of how the legislation will look, the subject of ongoing debate on Capitol Hill. The White House is remaining mostly quiet as proposals emerge for discussion among lawmakers, preferring to let Congress come up with a plan and engage more on the specifics later on.
Obama's plan to provide coverage to some 50 million uninsured Americans is the cornerstone of his promise to enact a larger overhaul of the health care system. Independent experts put the costs at about $1.5 trillion over 10 years.
But turning that vision into reality remains the biggest challenge for the president and his backers, because hard cash — not just ideas — is required to cover upfront costs of expanding coverage.