Obama: 'Our healthcare problem is our deficit problem'
September 10, 2009 9:46 AM
President Obama was determined to follow through his main goals on the hotly-debated health care reform issue early this evening in an address to Congress and the nation.
Obama's three goals are to provide security and stability for the already insured, provide insurance to those without it and slow the growth of health care costs without adding one dime to the deficit.
He said that every day 14,000 people lose their coverage and that insurance premiums have gone up three times faster than wages. Obama also said that insured people pay a hidden and growing tax to cover those without insurance.
"Our health care problem is our deficit problem," said Obama, noting that costly emergency room visits for the uninsured are only making fiscal issues worse.
Jason McDaniel, an SF State political science assistant professor, said Obama spoke directly and challenged people on both the left and right sides of the political spectrum in his speech.
"I was impressed by how strongly he tried to situate himself and his ideas in the center politically but also with the core of American values," said McDaniel, who showed the speech live in his American politics class.
Obama spent a large chunk of his time going into details on how he plans to make health care a well-rounded system that will be the most beneficial.
The president also mentioned that young and healthy individuals who choose not to be insured would be required to carry health insurance the same way some states require the purchase of auto insurance -- to avoid expensive emergency room visits.
"For those who can't afford health care, that's one more bill they have to pay every month," said freshmen Natasha Newman, 18.
Other SF State students agree that requiring young people to purchase health coverage would be a lot to ask.
"If we are in school we don't have the means to be purchasing insurance," said George Tano, 18.
After laying out what exactly would be covered in his plan, he went on to clear up any misconceptions that some might have had.
Obama discussed the public option, which Albert Angelo, a health educator at SF State's Student Health Service Center, likens to having to drive a car not of a person's choice.
"The issue with a public option is really to say that everybody could get health insurance and the government could compete with Kaiser, Blue Cross and HealthNet and offer something," said Angelo. "If there's no public option then you have to pick a private organization."
Obama tried to squelch these fears by assuring that the public option would be available only to those who are not insured.
Another issue that could not be ignored was the constant talk of "death panels." Many feel that if the government becomes too involved in health care, panels of bureaucrats would decide when senior citizens would die.
Obama concluded his speech discussing a letter given to him by the late Sen. Ted Kennedy. He said that Kennedy believed that this would be the year for health care reform and that it is "the great unfinished business of our society" -- a sentiment Obama whole-heartedly agrees with.
"I am not the first president to take up this cause but I am determined to be the last," Obama said early on in his speech.
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