Obama Hits Campus To Stump for Democratic Health Care Reform Plan
On Thursday, President Obama took his health care reform message to an enthusiastic, 12,000-strong crowd of mostly students at the University of Maryland, the Baltimore Sun reports (West, Baltimore Sun, 9/18).
Obama hopes to gain the support of more young people as he continues overhaul efforts because although they are the least likely to purchase insurance, they could form an important part of a new U.S. health system, according to the Washington Post.
At the event, Obama called reform efforts the "defining struggle of this generation" (Kornblut/Greenwell, Washington Post, 9/17). He told students, "When you're young, I know this isn't an issue that is at the top of your mind," adding, "You think you're invulnerable. That's what I always thought" (Zeleny, "The Caucus," New York Times, 9/17).
During his speech, Obama compared health care reform with the women's voting rights and civil rights movements. He also expressed his support for a public health insurance option, adding that no one would be forced to choose a public option (Koffler, Roll Call, 9/17).
Obama highlighted certain Democratic reform proposals, including one that would allow young people to stay on their parents' insurance until age 26.
The president also discussed his administration's new grant initiative dedicated to finding alternatives to medical malpractice lawsuits (Washington Post, 9/17).
The president also criticized some members of the Republican Party, saying, "I've heard a lot of Republicans say they want to kill ObamaCare. Some may even raise money off it." He continued, "But when you ask these folks what exactly my plan does, they've got it all wrong. When you ask them what their solution is, it amounts to the same old, same old -- the same status quo that's given us higher costs and more uninsured, and less security than you've ever had" (Baltimore Sun, 9/18).
Obama only briefly mentioned the reform bill that Senate Finance Chair Max Baucus (D-Mont.) released on Wednesday, which has been criticized by both parties. The remark drew boos from the auditorium (Lee, Politico, 9/17).
On Thursday, PBS' "NewsHour With Jim Lehrer" included a segment on Obama's appearance at the University of Maryland and uninsured young adults (Holman, "NewsHour With Jim Lehrer," PBS, 9/17).
On Sunday, Obama will appear on a record five television networks in separate appearances, USA Today reports. He will appear on the Sunday morning talk shows on ABC, NBC and CBS and do interviews with CNN and the Spanish-language network Univision (USA Today, 9/17).
In addition, he will have an interview with David Letterman on the late-night talk show on Monday, marking the first time a sitting president has done so (Mosk, Washington Times, 9/18).
After the appearances on Sunday, Obama will have done 124 print, broadcast and radio interviews as president, according to Martha Kumar, a political scientist at Towson University. According to Kumar, Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton had done 40 and 46, respectively, by the same point in their presidencies.Robert Thompson, director of the Bleier Center for Television and Popular Culture at Syracuse University, said that Obama risks overexposure but must continue the media blitz in order to convince U.S. residents of Democratic reform proposals (USA Today, 9/17). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.