Nightly News   |  February 28, 2010

Intensive care for health bill?

Though he received a clean bill of health during his first presidential physical, the diagnosis for the commander in chief’s health care bill is not as certain. NBC’s Mike Viqueira reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> stephanie gosk, nbc news, london.

>>> at the white house today health care reform is very much on president obama 's mind. but the day began with the president tending to his own health. a routine medical checkup at bethesda naval hospital . nbc's mike viqueira is following all this at the white house for us tonight.

>> reporter: it was an early morning trip for mr. obama to his first physical since taking office. afterward, his doctor said he was in excellent health and fit for duty as president.

>> looking good.

>> reporter: though he got a clean bill of health, the diagnosis for mr. obama 's health care bill is not as certain. today the house speaker called on wavering democrats to back the measure, even if it means political defeat this fall.

>> and we're not here just to self-perpetuate our -- perpetuate our service in congress. we're here to do the job for the american people , to get them results.

>> reporter: as republicans continued their call to scrap it altogether.

>> we need to start over. that's what the american people want us to do.

>> reporter: a top obama aide backed the use of a controversial rule that would allow the senate to pass the bill by a simple majority instead of a 60-vote super majority .

>> what the president's talking about is do we need to address this problem and does it make sense to have a simple up or down vote on whether or not we want to fix these problems?

>> reporter: democrats say they have to do something. but gop leaders today called that a political kamikaze mission.

>> if speaker pelosi rams through this bill, through the house using the reconciliation process, they will -- they will lose --

>> hold on. one at a time.

>> they will lose their majority in congress.

>> reporter: but short the votes they need, democrats await the go-ahead from the president, due mid-week.

>> as i said, you can bake the pie, you can sell the pie, but you have to have a pie to sell. and when we do, we will take it out there.

>> reporter: and lester, one more note on the president's health. it wasn't all good news. his cholesterol level creeping up. now at 209. and he's also apparently still having trouble quitting smoking. chewing nicotine gum to help him kick the habit. lester?

>> mike viqueira at the white house this evening. thank you.

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