Attempting to rally members of Congress, as well as Americans, around his plans to reform healthcare, President Obama spoke with a sense of urgency during his televised address September 10 about the need for a healthcare overhaul, and laid out his healthcare agenda.
After months of partisan divide over how healthcare reform should take shape, Obama told Congress that “the time for bickering is over. The time for games has passed. Now is the season for action. Now is when we must bring the best ideas of both parties together.”
Obama also noted Senator Max Baucus’s (D-Montana), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, plans to move forward on completing a healthcare reform bill by next week. Of the five committees asked to develop bills on healthcare reform, the Senate Finance Committee is the last to deliver one.
Noting the 30 million American citizens who cannot get health insurance coverage, Obama said healthcare reform is not just about the uninsured. Those who do have insurance, he said, “have never had less security and stability than they do today.” More and more Americans, he continued, “worry that if you move, lose your job, or change your job, you’ll lose your health insurance. too. More and more Americans pay their premiums, only to discover that their insurance company has dropped their coverage when they get sick, or won’t pay the full cost of care.”
Another issue that must be addressed, Obama said, is the rising cost of healthcare. The United States, he said, spends “one-and-a-half times more per person on healthcare than any other country, but we aren’t any healthier for it. This is one of the reasons that insurance premiums have gone up three times faster than wages. It’s why so many employers–especially small businesses–are forcing their employees to pay more for insurance, or are dropping their coverage entirely.”
The Administration’s plan, Obama said, would meet three basic goals. “It will provide more security and stability to those who have health insurance. It will provide insurance to those who don’t. And it will slow the growth of healthcare costs for our families, our businesses, and our government.” The plan asks everyone to help meet this challenge, he said, government and insurance companies, employers and individuals.