Refocus on Domestic Issues: Obama on First Year Benefits of Health Care Reform

By Lindsey Ellerson

Jan 9, 2010 6:01am

ABC News' Sunlen Miller reports: In his weekly address President Obama refocuses on two domestic issues looming: health care and jobs. While admitting that “it’ll take a few years to fully implement” health care reforms in a “responsible way,” the president argues for the urgency of passing health care reform, and outlining what immediate improvement Americans will see – within the first year – of passing a health care bill. The President lists how he believes Americans will see change within the first year: “Uninsured Americans with a pre-existing illness or condition will finally be able to purchase coverage they can afford. Children with pre-existing conditions will no longer be refused coverage, and young adults will be able to stay on their parents’ policy until they’re 26 or 27 years old. Small business owners who can’t afford to cover their employees will be immediately offered tax credits to purchase coverage. Early retirees who receive coverage from their employers will see their coverage protected and their premiums go down. Seniors who fall into the coverage gap known as the donut hole will receive discounts of up to 50 percent on their prescriptions as we begin to close that gap altogether. And every patient’s choice of doctor will be protected, along with access to emergency care.” The President adds, “Here’s what else will happen within the first year.  Insurance plans will be required to offer free preventive care to their customers – so that we can start catching preventable illnesses and diseases on the front end.” Referencing Friday’s jobs numbers, showing that 85,000 jobs were shed last month, the President said that the fact that the road to recovery would long and sometimes bumpy, “was brought home,” with the release of the disappointing report. He pledged that until there’s a good trend of sustainable job creation, the administration’s efforts would not stop. “We will be relentless in our efforts to put America back to work,” the President says ending on an optimistic note, “We enter a new decade, now, with new perils – but we’re going to meet them.  It’s also a time of tremendous promise – and we’re going to seize it.” -Sunlen Miller

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