The following is the first of two reports concerning the President’s address to Congress September 9th in regards to health care reform.
President Barack Obama addressed a joint session of Congress (the House of Representatives and the Senate together) that was televised by all the major news covering networks except FOX, for reason(s) unknown to this reporter.
This was only the fifteenth time the President in office has spoken to a joint session of Congress outside of the required annual State of the Union address.
Over the course of the fifty minute speech; in plain, simple, and direct terms, Obama laid out the contents of the proposed Health Care Reform agenda for everyone present and the television audience to know.
While the full text of the speech can be found at http://www.whitehouse.gov/ and other official websites, the major points are covered below.
1. NOTHING CHANGES FOR THOSE ALREADY WITH INSURANCE.
The only goal of the Health Care Reform Act is to try and improve the existing system.
That those with coverage are not dropped by “pre-existing conditions” and that the insurance companies “cannot lessen or drop your coverage during a medical crisis, let alone impose a spending cap on your care.”
The plan will also limit your co-pay and out of pocket expenses while securing more coverage for screening tests to hopefully catch potential problems early enough.
2. THOSE WITHOUT INSURANCE CAN OBTAIN INSURANCE.
Health Care Reform will give citizens affordable options by “creating an open health care market,” for consumers always save whenever there is competition between businesses for any product and/or service.
3. WHILE IT WILL REQUIRE THAT THOSE THAT CAN AFFORD HEALTH CARE COVERAGE ACQUIRE IT…
There will be no penalties for not having insurance.
So health insurance will become akin to carrying basic coverage for your automobile, with waivers available for those who truly cannot afford to obtain insurance.
Yet is health insurance something anyone can afford to be without?
While this is where all the debate over the possibility of a government run health insurance company comes in, the President stressed that he “does not want the federal government to enter the health insurance industry”, but to be able to provide people who want insurance the chance to get minimum coverage at a price they can afford.
This would also ensure “a more level playing field with more open competition between insurance companies so people benefit” whereby, in conjunction with Objective # 2, there would be more affordable chances to obtain health insurance.
Obama also stressed he “Would make a ‘public option’ available only for those who cannot afford otherwise afford health insurance. But any public option must be financially sound and independently functional on its own, for no part of any Health Care Reform program will add to the Federal budget!”
WHAT HEALTH CARE REFORM WILL NOT DO
There are “No Death Panels waiting to reduce the population amongst senior citizens”.
“It will not cover illegal aliens!”
“No funding for abortions!”
President Obama further stated that he “does not want to drive insurance companies out of business. Only to hold them financially and morally accountable.”
The President hopes for true health care reform without input from insurance company lobbyists or government bureaucrats.
Whatever version of the Reform Act is approved by Congress for the President’s consideration (and there are four at the moment, with a fifth due next week!) Obama is on the record that he “will not sign any measure that adds to the Federal deficit, for there have been too many incentives of past administration(s), like tax cuts for the wealthy, that were not financed in advance” that contributed to the deficit problems of today.
Obama is also hoping to address the issue of malpractice insurance at some point, so that “doctors can concentrate on practicing medicine again”.
The President stressed that he only wants to “remove the waste and excess from the existing system” to improve what works instead of trying to develop a new process from scratch and that he “will not touch the Medicare and Medicaid trust funds to pay for any health care reform, let alone allow them to become privatized voucher programs.”
Now for the big question that needs to be answered: Will there be a viable Health Care Reform Act for the President to consider within the next few months?
That is what I will look at in my next post.