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President Obama: Health Care Reform “Will Not Wait”

President Obama: Health Care Reform “Will Not Wait”

“I suffer no illusions that this will be an easy process. It will be hard. But I also know that nearly a century after Teddy Roosevelt first called for reform, the cost of our health care has weighed down our economy and the conscience of our nation long enough. So let there be no doubt: health care reform cannot wait, it must not wait, and it will not wait another year.” – Barack Obama (February 24, 2009)

In the face of proclamations that health care reform will have to wait, President Obama says otherwise. Health care reform was an important part of his campaign and he seems to be holding firm. In fact, he placed health care right up there with energy and education as three items critical to economic recovery.

In the early 90s, when President Clinton tried to tackle health care reform, the country was not yet ready. The majority of Americans felt secure. Lack of insurance was somebody’s else’s misfortune. It was hard to fathom how widespread the problem would become.

A Kaiser Family Foundation survey
released on February 25, 2009, indicates that the tide has turned. A whopping 53 percent of Americans say they have cut back on health care over the past year due to cost, 19 percent report serious financial hardship due to medical bills, and 34 percent of people with health insurance are worried about losing it.

Their worries are not without merit. As unemployment rises, more people are losing their group health coverage. Despite the provisions in the recently passed stimulus package, many of them will not be able to afford to take advantage of COBRA. How many of us will lose medical coverage before real reform takes place? How many of us will put off necessary health care, or be forced into bankruptcy?

We heard the president declare that “we can no longer afford to put health care reform on hold.” We heard the very real fears of the people. We’ve heard the promises. Now it’s time for Congress to act, and it’s time for us to hold them to it.

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13 comments

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3:37PM PST on Mar 3, 2009

I grew up in the UK, but also lived in all four Scandinavian countries, all of which have universal healthcare. Since moving back to the US a few years ago, my family has experienced no coverage, group, and individually purchased insurance.

Half of US personal bankruptcy is related to medical bills, not only because of the uninsured, but also the high cost of co-pays. (http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news04/2005/bankruptcy_study.html) Of course there is no perfect system, and people in the UK are always complaining about the NHS. But having actually experienced both systems (as well as Scandinavian health care), there is no comparison in my mind.

And yet some Americans talk about lower taxes... So you'd rather pay twice as much a month in insurance, rather than in taxes? ( I read somewhere that the US pays 15% GDP, but Finland only 7%). No surprise that a system based on insurance, which has to make profits for insurance companies, (let alone the extra administrative expense), costs more. It is an unfortunate fact that the US pays more for health care than any other comparable nation, yet we don't even make it into the top 30, for overall performance.(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Health_care_in_the_United_States)

My personal conclusion is that it really depends on the size of your paycheck and your unselfishness as to where you stand. But I'd like to see someone who has lived in the EU with universal care who really prefers the US system, and who isn't earning 100K

1:20PM PST on Mar 2, 2009

i wish the best to American and Canadian people with health care issues, but remember, say no to biometrics!

10:21AM PST on Mar 2, 2009

All Americans should receive the same health care benefits that are provided for our legislators. (Conversely, the legislators should receive the same health benefits as the rest of us.) This sounds facetious, but I assure you it's not.

10:20AM PST on Mar 2, 2009

All Americans should receive the same health care benefits that are provided for our legislators. (Conversely, the legislators should receive the same health benefits as the rest of us.) This sounds facetious, but I assure you it's not.

5:06PM PST on Feb 27, 2009

Can you imagine building the highway system across America on the same principle as you do with health care, would you call the highway system then a socialized adventure, come on, where there is a will, why do there need to be fat cats? and as far as competition, if you hire or train them, and give them reasonable compensation, why would they leave? if your officers and generals thought the same way, you'd soon arrest them for treason wouldn't you? All is possible give Obama a chance, at one time there was no employment insurance either, or old age pension for that matter, does it take another Bismark to......... Bless you all!

2:12PM PST on Feb 27, 2009

In one sentence Obama says we need to make healthcare affordable,for everyone,then later he says we must provide health insurance to everyone.Now,I only graduated high school,but I'm 63 years old,and I've been around long enough to know that we can never have both!It's the profits and administrative expenses of the insurance companies,drug companies,and the duplicative paperwork the Drs and Hospitals have to deal with,that are bankrupting people,employers,and governments who are trying to provide healthcare.
Medicare for Everyone,now!!

12:51PM PST on Feb 27, 2009

We have Universal haelthcare. It's called Medicare! We spend enough money on it to cover ALL Americans but instead give one third of the money to private insurance companies to line their CEO's pockets instead of covering Americans.
HR 676 is already up for a vote. Pass it now!!!
People have already been working on this problem for years and have it solved. Obama's, Kennedy's and most of congress' ONLY ovjection to it is that it will make their private insurance friends mad!
They owe those companies a LOT of money and they are expected to pay it all back by MANDATING helath insurance. and criminalizing those who can't afford it! They are paying their sugar daddies back at the expense of the American taxpayers and their helath!

10:22AM PST on Feb 27, 2009

I just wanted to address this portion of the comment from Mr. Meeds:

"look at the state of Mass. You pay $4500 a year for insurance and it has a $2000 deductable for the working people."

Speaking as a person who has no access to group coverage and has a pre-existing condition, I would be thrilled to have that plan. Compared to what is available to me now, it would be an enormous bargain.

10:03AM PST on Feb 27, 2009

We do need universal health care here this is the only thing that get every one in the USA medical care, we are starting to look like a 3rd world country as far as healthcare now if we don't have ore and more make radical changes we will let more and more US citizens fall through the cracks. I know from experience My fiancee is trying to get to good Dr and she can't and she is disabled severely so I get to see our healthcare fail every day.
RJ

7:10AM PST on Feb 27, 2009

I am a happy citizen of Canada and while our healthcare system is not perfect by any means and yes, it could use some 'reforms' ....I, for one, am delighted as are I would say, the majority of Canadians. The United States is far behind in its mandate in serving its Citizens...Americans do need a 'universal' healthcare system..get it started, 'hone it' as it goes along...but START WORKING towards IMPLEMENTATION for all of your Citizens..

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