Obama Marks Health Care Anniversary By Touting Progress

By Jared

Sep 22, 2010 3:07pm

ABC News' Sunlen Miller reports:   Marking the anniversary of the health care bill signed into law six months ago on Thursday, President Obama today touted reforms that will that effect starting tomorrow while blasting Republicans for repeal of the bill.   ‪”I want to see them come and talk to Gail or talk to Dawn or talk to any of you who now have more security as a consequence of this act, and I want them to look you in the eye and say, ‘Sorry, Gail, you can't buy health insurance,” the president said of people in the backyard audience in Falls Church, Virginia  who had told their health care stories, “‘Sorry, little Wes, he's going to be excluded when it comes to an eye operation that he might have to get in the future.’ I don't think that's what this country stands for." ‪ The president said that the Congressional Budget Office says that as a consequence of the act, the deficit is going to be over a trillion dollars over the course of the next two decades than it would be if it wasn’t passed.   ‪”What they're also going to have to explain is why would you want to repeal something that Congressional Budget Office says is going to save us a trillion dollars, if you're serious about the deficit. It doesn't make sense. I mean, it makes sense in terms of politics. It doesn't — and — and polls. It doesn't make sense in terms of actually making people's lives better. ”   ‪Noting that tomorrow will be the six month anniversary of the bill, the president  tried to explain what benefits Americans should be seeing starting this week.   ‪"Sometimes I fault myself for not being able to make the case more clearly to the country,” he admitted before outlining the large areas where consumers will be protected more starting tomorrow including the end of lifetime limits, children who have pre-existing conditions are going to be covered, young people who don’t have health insurance can stay on their parents’ health insurance up to the age of 26, the ability for people to choose their doctor giving more choice and more options, and preventive care being now offered   ‪”All these things are designed not to have government more involved in health care; they're designed to make sure that you have basic protections in your interactions with your insurance company — that you're getting what you paid for; that — that you have some  basic measures of protection in interacting with the health-care system, which means that you're not going to go bankrupt, you're not  going to lose your house if, heaven forbid, you end up having an accident; and you're able to get the quality care that you need.”   The president acknowledged that the economy has been “uppermost” on his mind, but connected the time and money spent to in attempting to fix the health care problem to the broader economic recovery.   ‪”What we realized was we had to take some steps to start dealing with these underlying, chronic problems that have confronted our economy for a very long time. And health care was one of those issues that we could no longer ignore.  We couldn't ignore it because the cost of health care has been  escalating faster than just about anything else, and I don't need to tell you all that.”   ‪But today’s event was perhaps much more about the optics and the testimonials. ‪ The president, in a backyard setting with his shirt sleeves rolled up was seen talking directly to Americans about their concerns about the health care bill. The White House trotted out people who told the often heart-wrenching stories how their lives have changed already because of the health care bill.   ‪Dawn Josephson from Jacksonville, Florida described how she and her husband were shocked when their son with a preexisting eye condition would be covered.   ‪”We started talking about it and I said, wow, something affected me personally from, you know, the government, was really shocking.  So not only did we have a more affordable plan, but my son is now covered, no matter what happens…it's really made our  life so much less stressful as just an average American family.   ‪Gail O’Brien diagnosed with high grade, stage two non-Hodgkin's lymphoma described how she would have been able to get insurance, had it not been for the bill. ‪ “If it wasn't for this bill, I would have probably not been feeling great because I would have been so stressed out and worried about paying for my  medical bills that now I can focus on my health instead of focusing on how am I going to pay to get better.”             ‪This morning president Obama said down behind-closed-doors with state insurance commissioners from all across the country.   ‪”They are newly empowered to look after consumers,” Obama promised the crowd, “All this is going to lower premiums, it's going to make health care more affordable, it's going to give you more security.  That's the concept behind what we're implementing.”   –Sunlen Miller

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