Obama Pushes for Reform, Trumpets Consensus Points

Les Masterson, for HealthLeaders Media , July 21, 2009

With stories swirling around Washington that healthcare reform legislation is being pushed back to the fall, President Obama used an afternoon speech at the White House today to bash reform opponents.

Obama said he is meeting with Congressional members interested in healthcare reform and criticized health reform foes as following a "Washington script we've seen before."

He added those against health reform are more interested in satisfying special interests, gaining political points, and maintaining a system "that works for insurance and drug companies," but not for small businesses and the American people.

Obama also had a message for those who are predicting health reform's demise.

"Make no mistake, we are closer than ever before to the reform that the American people need and we will get the job done," said Obama.

Obama also said there is consensus in the health reform bills that have been offered, including agreement on:

  • Extending coverage to more Americans and providing protection so people can't be rejected because of pre-existing medical conditions, job loss, etc.

  • Promoting choice by allowing Americans to compare plans and choose the one they want.

  • Enacting a public insurance option that would compete against private insurers.

  • Emphasizing prevention and wellness through investments in programs that promote healthy living and prevent people from getting chronic diseases.

  • Protecting families from financial disaster by placing out-of-pocket limits on health insurance.

  • Cutting costs and improving quality by providing incentives for the physicians and hospitals who are providing quality, less expensive care, and reducing Medicare Advantage payments, which Obama called "unwarranted giveaways"

Obama said that these common points are not among Congressional leaders only, but they are also supported by stakeholders outside of the government, including physicians, nurses, hospitals, and the pharmaceutical industry. History will not remember those who tried to stall reform and keep the status quo, but will reward those who "insisted on change," he said.

Les Masterson is an editor for HealthLeaders Media.

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