After humming and hawing for a few weeks over his healthcare reforms, US President Barack Obama has come back roaring into the debate and declared that he is not going to be deterred by vested interests.
In his much awaited joint speech to Congress Wednesday night, he declared, "I will not stand by while the special interests use the same old tactics to keep things exactly the way they are.
"If you misrepresent what's in the plan, we will call you out. And I will not accept the status quo as a solution. Not this time. Not now."
He also warned he would not "waste time with those who have made the calculation that it's better politics to kill this plan than improve it."
Failure to introduce reforms had led the country to breaking point, he reasoned and noted hence it was now the time to act.
All Americans would be required by law to have health insurance under his proposal, President Obama said. He noted the requirement would be similar to mandatory auto insurance in most states and also would mandate businesses to either offer health care coverage to workers or contribute to covering their costs of obtaining coverage.
"There will be a hardship waiver for those individuals who still cannot afford coverage, and 95 percent of all small businesses, because of their size and narrow profit margin, would be exempt from these requirements," he said. "But we cannot have large businesses and individuals who can afford coverage game the system by avoiding responsibility to themselves or their employees.
"Our health care system only works if everybody does their part."
While offering his most detailed outline for legislation, the youthful President also called for serious proposals from Democrats and Republicans to address chronic health care problems and rising costs.
On the public option issue, he sounded slightly indecisive. He did say the option would force private insurers to lower costs, but he also dubbed the provision one alternative for increasing competition for health insurance, thus perhaps signalling his openness to alternatives.
But the bottomline still was - "I will not back down on the basic principle that if Americans can't find affordable coverage, we will provide you with a choice."
"And I will make sure that no government bureaucrat or insurance company bureaucrat gets between you and the care that you need."
Republicans are unanimous in opposing a public option, calling it an unfair competitor that would drive private insurers from the market and lead to a government takeover of health insurance. But Obama rejected that claim as a false allegation intended to scare people.
He concluded by saying: "We can do great things, and... here and now we will meet history's test... That is our calling, that is our character."