President Presses for Passage of Health Care Reform at Ohio Rally
President Obama on Monday held a campaign-style rally in Strongsville, Ohio, during which he implored lawmakers to pass health reform and sought to reassure seniors on potential cuts to Medicare, the Washington Post reports.
Obama repeatedly stated that "we need courage" from lawmakers to pass health reform legislation (Slevin/Branigin, Washington Post, 3/15). Obama described reform efforts as a test of Democrats' ability to govern. He said, "The American people want to know if it's still possible for Washington to look out for their interests and their future" (Stolberg, New York Times, 3/15).
Obama also said that the "most insidious" idea brought by overhaul opponents is that reform "would hurt Medicare." He added, "Every senior should know: There is no cutting of your guaranteed Medicare benefits. Period" (Condon/House, CongressDaily, 3/15).
Obama Attempts To Personalize Reform
During the speech, Obama attempted to personalize the reform debate by focusing on Natoma Canfield, a self-employed cancer survivor living in Ohio (New York Times, 3/15).
Obama told the audience that Canfield paid more than $10,000 in premiums and out-of-pocket costs for $900 in insurer-covered care. At the end of the year, the insurer notified Canfield that her premiums would increase by 40%, so she dropped her coverage (Washington Post, 3/15).
Canfield wrote to Obama in December 2009 to tell him about her situation, and Obama had invited her to be at Monday's event. However, Canfield collapsed last week and was diagnosed with leukemia and was unable to attend the rally.Obama said, "[S]he is racked with worry not only about her illness but about the cost of the tests and treatments she's surely going to need." He added, "[Y]ou want to know why I'm here, Ohio? I'm here because of Natoma" (New York Times, 3/15). 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.