Like a blast from the past, President Barack Obama back in "campaign mode," on the trail of Healthcare Reform
Will Obama Deliver on Healthcare?
As the battle rages on throughout the country, President Obama has geared up in campaign mode and he's on the campaign trail this time for healthcare reform
By Yussuf J. Simmonds
Sentinel Managing Editor
"Whether or not you have health insurance right now, the reforms we seek will bring stability and security that you don't have today. This isn't about politics. This is about people's lives. This is about people's businesses. This is about our future," said President Barack Obama as he hit the campaign trail. This time, he's after a seemingly elusive goal: healthcare reform.
With the President's party controlling both Houses of Congress, some say that it ought to be a done deal, but apparently, it isn't. As the day of reckoning draws near, the opposition is raging a relentless battle to maintain the status-quo. As a matter of fact, they want to scrap the entire package and start all over. (It is not surprising that they are all Republicans).
President Obama has been bending over backwards to work with both Houses of Congress--and both parties in Congress--to get a comprehensive healthcare bill that he can sign into law. According to his spokesman, "the insurance reform the president seeks will protect people against unfair insurance practices; provide quality, affordable insurance to every American; and bring down rising costs for families and businesses. And it's not about Washington politics. It's about American lives, businesses and our future."
The Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius is the President's point person on the healthcare issue and she said, "Under this budget, we will provide the health and human services that Americans depend on more effectively, slashing waste and focusing programs on results."_
Furthermore, the administration believes that comprehensive healthcare reform must do the following:
Reduce long-term growth of health care costs for businesses and government;
Protect families from bankruptcy or debt because of health care costs;
Guarantee choice of doctors and health plans;
Invest in prevention and wellness;
Improve patient safety and quality of care;
Assure affordable, quality health coverage for all Americans;
Maintain coverage when you change or lose your job;
End barriers to coverage for people with pre-existing medical conditions.
Though the opposition is orchestrated by the Republican party along party lines, it has been able to contaminate some of the independents, especially those who have suffered terribly from the nation's economic climate that has not subsided since President Obama took office just over a year ago.
Budget woes, massive bailouts, foreclosures, rampant unemployment are some of the ingredients that are creating lots of dissatisfaction and frustration with the government--at all levels--and they are fueling an unhealthy environment. Even some who voted for change are looking for instant solutions to age-old generational problems.
More and more, it has become apparent that the so-called middle class would be the major beneficiaries of the healthcare reform bill. Because contrary to the common belief that Blacks, Latinos, people of color, the poor and the disenfranchised are the ones who put a financial burden on government's largesse, in this economic climate--foreclosures, unemployment and domestic unrest--the middle class is bearing the brunt of being without and/or having to do with less.
Healthcare reform is like an oasis in the desert. It has the potential to level the healthcare playing field, despite what the critics say. By ensuring that all Americans have access to affordable healthcare, President Obama is investing in America's most valuable assets--the people.
Accordingly, the impact on the budget will be negative in the short term but it will pay tremendous dividends in the long run. Doing nothing is the surest way to exacerbate the problem. And the President is mindful of all the players in the healthcare drama that are focused primarily on the status-quo and their bottomlines.
Based on some recent developments in California, President Obama said, "There was a report that Anthem Blue Cross, which is the largest insurer in the largest state, California, is planning on raising premiums for many individual policyholders by as much as 39 percent. If we don't act, this is just a preview of coming attractions. Premiums will continue to rise for folks with insurance; millions more will lose their coverage altogether; our deficits will continue to grow larger. And we have an obligation--both parties--to tackle this issue in a serious way,"