President Uses Weekly Address To Rally Support for Health Care Reform
Obama continues to promote the overhaul in an attempt to bolster the momentum of talks on merging the House and Senate reform bills (HR 3962, HR 3590), which Democrats hope to finish by the end of the month (Bolton, The Hill, 1/9).
Obama said that once he signs health reform legislation "there are dozens of protections and benefits that will take effect this year" (Fletcher, "44,"Washington Post, 1/9). He said, "Once I sign health insurance reform into law, doctors and patients will have more control over their health care decisions, and insurance company bureaucrats will have less," adding, "All told, these changes represent the most sweeping reforms and toughest restrictions on insurance companies that this country has ever known."
Although many proposals in current legislation would take years to go into effect, Obama said a provision that would require insurers to accept individuals regardless of pre-existing medical conditions would allow uninsured people with such conditions to immediately purchase affordable coverage.
According to Obama, other provisions that would be enacted upon passage include one that would allow young adults to stay on a parent's insurance until age 26 or 27 and another that would allow small-business owners to receive tax credits to purchase coverage for employees.
In addition, seniors with prescription drug expenses not covered by Medicare would immediately be able to receive discounts, Obama said (The Hill, 1/9).
Obama also noted that within the first year, health insurers would be required to provide no-cost preventive care to policyholders and would be prohibited from placing annual or lifetime monetary limits on care. In addition, Obama noted that U.S. residents would also be able to use a "new, independent appeals process" to challenge denied claims.During the address, Obama said reform would help build a "new foundation for our economy to create the good, lasting jobs and shared prosperity of tomorrow" (Henderson, Politico, 1/9). He added that an overhaul would restore the prosperity of the middle class by providing "stable health care so you don't go broke just because you get sick" (The Hill, 1/9). 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.