Iowa and Health Care Reform, Revisited

Mar 25, 2010 8:40am

"When President Barack Obama arrives in Iowa today to extol a sweeping new health care law, he will find a state — much like the nation as a whole — not fully convinced of its benefits," Thomas Beaumont writes in the Des Moines Register.

“Iowa businesses, large and small, feel angst about the possibility that their costs will increase amid a recession still battering the state,” Beaumont continues. “And state insurance officials await a deluge of inquiries to their lean staffs as they sift through thousands of pages of new law.”

As we noted earlier this week, Iowa City was chosen because it’s where then-Sen. Obama delivered his first major speech on health care reform as a presidential candidate, at the University of Iowa on May 29, 2007, at a time in the campaign when he was being criticized for being heavy on the rhetoric, light on the policy specifics.

Today the president seems to have almost that opposite dilemma. There are many specifics about this bill that he needs to explain. Some of the details have been unfairly demonized, some fairly so. In many polls a plurality if not a majority of the public opposes the legislation.

In short, the president is confronting the idealism he once represented to millions of Americans, a not-unpredictable dilemma as his candidacy became a presidency, his theoretical proposal used as a vague guideline as his White House began the practical business of crafting legislation and getting Congress to pass it.

“The time has come for affordable, universal health care in this country,” then-Sen. Obama said to the Iowa crowd. “And I look forward to working with all of you to meet this challenge in the weeks and months to come.”

There are some key difference between the bill as he envisioned it nearly three years ago and what he just signed into law.

“If you're one of the 45 million Americans who don't have health insurance, you will have a new plan, after this plan becomes law, you will have health insurance that's available to you,” then-Sen. Obama said in 2007. “My plan begins by covering every American.”

In actuality, 23 million Americans will not be covered by the actual bill, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

Officials with the Obama campaign in 2007 estimated the cost of the plan to the federal government at $50 billion to $65 billion a year. 

CBO estimated the 10-year cost of the legislation that just passed at $938 billion.

You can read more on the differences and the similarities HERE.

-jpt

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