STAFF & GUEST BLOG

What Do You Think of Obama’s Healthcare Address?

September 9th, 2009, byStaff

President Barack Obama addressed a joint session of Congress Wednesday night in an attempt to create movement on the healthcare overhaul.

He laid out the details of his plan for healthcare and did not back down on the public option.

Rep. Charles Boustany, Jr. delivered the Republican rebuttal.

And what do you have to say? Share your thoughts with us.

Also see full text of the speech here and a video excerpt below.

And, for more on healthcare reform, tune in to PBS on Thursday, September 24th at 9pm ET for a 90-minute report. NOW on PBS, Tavis Smiley and The Nightly Business Report are collaborating to produce the in-depth special called “PBS Special Report on Healthcare Reform.”

  • Kevin C. Thomas

    The address was very emotional for me and my mom. When I was diagnosed with testicular cancer I was scared to death, so scared I didn’t let my new job in State government know because I was afraid I would be denied coverage. I had to pay out of pocket for chemo and other medications. I was alone and even went to another State to be treated. My mother was laid off from her job in January, Thank God she had another part-time job that increased to full time hours. However, she would receive no health benefits. It was because of the New Administration she was able to afford COBRA coverage, but it will run out in the near future. We both cried during the address for various reasons. I cried for my dad who did have health coverage in retirement from Chrysler and my grandmother who had medicare, Tri-care, and supplemental coverage in her last days. I was really thinking about the people who have no coverage and what they have to go through to stay alive. I was displeased with the non-applauding Republicans during the address, but I know it’s politics. I pray every nook and cranny of this legislation can be laid smooth and all the reforms can be signed into law.

  • PoliticianHOU

    I think the Presidents address was great he was specific, articulate, and forceful. As a healthcare worker at a hospital system that serve the uninsured it is important that ever American no matter what economic status have access to health insurance. It astonds me of the out cry of resistance for the healthcare reform bill. What people don’t realize is that they are one serious diagnosis from losing your current coverage and needing the public option that is describe in this bill.It also baffles me that the people making the most noise, the eldery, are covered by a governmment run plan. Which they love and would fight tooth and nail if anyone tried to take it away from them. It is a case of the haves and havenots. Well time has come that everbody have.

  • Wunder Maus

    The crowning achievement of political chicanery is realized. Deceit and Deception, Corruption and Greed at it’s ultimate moment of rancid triumph – fascism in full and glorious bloom – the stench of corporatism fills the chambers our OUR congress. Lady Liberty has been stabbed in the back 1984 styled double speak. Health Insurance Reform? We have all been played for fools and we, indeed all are.

  • Terrance Slaughter

    I thought it was long over due,the few agreements they had with the bill,the republican party and some dems,still undercuts the problems of health care directly effecting the government debt longterm.

  • Dana Hardy

    I was so proud of the President and the firm voice and words he used. I wish he had done it earlier. I was especially proud of his statement that it will be done on his watch! I was lost my job in 2/2008 due to cutbacks. Unable to find work since because few people are highering but also due to age and walking disability. I paid for COBRA and now it is has run out. I have a small medical policy but with a high deductible. BC/BS said they would cover me for $850 a month!
    I too felt the non-applauding Republicans were playing their political game. I am like President Obama; tired of the games! I

  • Clarissa Williams

    The Address was Right on point. What is it that people don’t understand. He said it will NOT affect your Insurance Plan you have Now. Nor medicare or medicaid. He is open to other idea’s. What more is it that people want. I hate to say it But, race is playing a part in all this Crap being said. And How disrespectful can you be calling the President; Your President of the United States a Lier. I’m confident this reform bill will past.

  • Esme

    This country desperately needs serious, low cost, quality healthcare for every citizen!
    I become terribly discouraged when I hear all the naysayers, the people who, apparently, have no problems getting and affording it. They are lucky beyond what they probably know. I’m certain if they’ve had to struggle the way that I have in getting individual health insurance, they would see it differently.
    So, what do I think of Obama’s speech? I praise it to the heavens! Every time he speaks about healthcare, and tells it like it is, it raises my hopes and makes my spirit soar.
    I just read Dana Hardy’s comment, and I’m in a similar situation. The health insurance industry has a stranglehold on this country, and it should be illegal!
    Mr. Obama, thank you for continuing to fight for those of us who cannot fight for ourselves in this matter.

  • Anonymous

    Dear President Obama,
    You said in your speech to Congress on this Wednesday evening (09/09/09) that a person shows “irresponsible behavior” by choosing not to buy health insurance.
    I respectfully disagree. Particularly, I noted flawed logic in certain of your analogies. For instance, equating a required auto insurance premium to proposed mandatory health insurance premiums, ignores clear differences. Any person can refuse to own a car (or can surrender a car tag for a non-driven car). Not so, with being a human. What human can choose not to exist (unless–unthinkably–suicide should remain the bottom-line only choice)?
    Indeed, affordable health insurance would seem a dream come true. Still, I have almost always had to pay in-full for my doctor/hospital-emergency-room visits–regardless of whether or not I carried health insurance. I have, thus, never viewed my behavior as irresponsible–merely pragmatic (and thankful), based on availability of payment plans.
    In short, a forced health-care premium would charge a human to breathe, to have a pulse, in the land of the free, in the United States of America.
    Though I would eschew “the perfect being the enemy of the good,” I just cringe at the notion of loss of fundamental choice. My body is not a car. Will health insurance be re-named “vital-signs taxation”? Since no insurance plan can assure a man of life, why force a citizen to pay any health insurance company (or even to pay the U.S. Government option) just for being alive inside–or outside–the USA?
    While I applaud your over-all approach to reforming health-insurance/care, this one aspect, of your plan for reforming health-care, troubles me. This evening’s speech explained, that projected revenue/gains from requiring health-insurance coverage, will off-set risks for insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions. Somehow, I am not convinced that the two issues need be linked–except to make macro economic numbers work, in the abstract aggregate.
    Yet my micro budget makes me choose to turn off my thermostat (or set it at 79 degrees F. for air in summer, 64 degrees F. for heat in winter). I choose not to pay for $95 chemical-styled cosmetology appointments (I do my own natural hair). Additionally, I use energy-saver bulbs and/or use natural sunlight, to cut electric costs. I walked everywhere, and avoided the subway while a student–to stretch my pennies. I once survived on $20 pocket-cash per month in college, since tuition and board were paid by school loans/grants. Hence, I always declined my roommate’s offers to spend $10 to go off-campus for dinner downtown.
    Thus, the notion of paying a required new expense alarms me.
    As you know, both U.S. citizens as well as legal U.S. residents already face world-wide income taxation. Would mandatory health insurance premiums also apply to U.S. citizens world-wide?? The 14th Amendment made persons born in the U.S. automatically citizens. This was supposed to answer the discriminatory 1859, Dred Scott case, which excluded Negros from U.S. citizenship. Shall a new form of involuntary servitude (via mandatory “heartbeat premiums”–as required health insurance premiums) now strain the intent of the 14th Amendment, which guarantees citizenship by U.S. birth?
    It sure seems that mandatory health insurance premiums would indeed be involuntary servitude.
    By the way, I do want to purchase affordable health insurance. I truly support the public option choice (or a comparable choice that keeps insurance companies accountable).
    Still, America has much yet to overcome throughout this health-care debate. Like the option to marry (which I have not yet chosen), I want to c-h-o-o-s-e to pay a health insurance premium. I do not wish to be forced to pay a health insurance premium just because I am alive (& preferably in good health, with God’s continued grace).
    By the way, I would not mind being forced to pay a Federal &/or state penalty/fine (after-the-fact) for using any health-care service (i.e. the emergency room)without paying for fees I incurred for my health care. Your bill could consider making such a fine/penalty, a little more costly than what a person would have paid for a multiple-month (on average), affordable health insurance premium. This way, a person can weigh the cost/benefit of choosing not to carry health insurance. Also, these fines could help deter/off-set some of the “irresponsible,” unpaid health-care charges, while neither stigmatizing nor penalizing those who do pay out-of-pocket for their own total health care costs.
    Moreover, in fact, I believe that certain religions may teach against paying for surety to cover future obligations/debts. Actually, entire regional bond markets exist, which avoid this kind of “gambling” on future losses and gains. Health insurance premiums may fall into this “surety for debts” category, pitting religion purists at odds with U.S. legislation.
    Further, to require a health-care premium would seem (to me) to interfere with my personal 1st Amendment freedom of speech. Were this true, then your entire health-care bill could risk failing constitutional muster under judicial review, when challenged by someone else brazen enough to raise this issue. For example, a person may wish to protest silently, against a heretofore admittedly self-serving health insurance industry. Any person may want to protest, by refusing to pay any money to the health insurance industry.
    In the spirit of Henry David Thoreau (of non-cooperative civil-disobedience), a self-styled “conscientious objector” may protest. This protester may want no dealings with an industry that once abandoned an acne-prone woman so as to refuse her coverage amidst her bout with deadly breast cancer.
    Mr. President, let us prayerfully search for a better way to off-set coverage of pre-existing conditions. Do not coerce the U.S. population to pay for health insurance premiums. Please turn away from attempts to tether a “heart-beat tax” to any American’s life.
    With kindest regards,
    Anonymous

  • Marion I. Lipshutz

    President Obama gave one of the most important speeches of his career. I’m glad that he’s including a public option, although I would have preferred a transition to a complete single payer system. President Obama is showing grace under pressure in response to disgraceful behavior on the part of right-wing Republicans; including the now notorious Joe Wilson. I think history will prove President Obama to be one of our best presidents.

  • Renee Mickens

    God has definitely paved the way for President Obama. He is doing a marvelous job. His idea for health care reform is extraordinaire. It provides a level of security that we have not experienced. The fact that this bill would not add to the deficit is miraculous.
    That the insurance companies are not allowed to eliminate the pre-existing conditions is another form of safety and security for this nation. These are safeguards and preventive measures which will add strength to America and its families. Thank You. Mr. President.

  • An American

    In hopes that a few Republicans may read this. I respectfully request the Republican Senators and Gongressmen please stop the fear and hate mongoring. Take an active productive roll in the Health Reform Process. A few of you may actually have legitimate concerns and even possibly some good ideas. Instead of all the hyperbole and insanity please try to rise above it. Remember we are all Americans, we are all Americans,we are all Americans. I think we can all agree that we love this country? Do we not want to take care of our fellow Americans? Then why not try to take a productive role in what we all know needs to be done. We are capable of providing better health care to all Americans. I urge you to please, just do what is right for the sake of doing what is right. Lead the people, don’t stoke the fear and hate of the simple minded. Be a part of the solution. Come together with your fellow Americans, work together.
    Be Respectful of the President of the greatest country in the world. And try to work with the greatest President of our time. Are you American enough! American Up People! This is the United States of America, after all.

  • Lee

    The address did hit the nail on the head in terms of firmly issuing an “I’m watching you” to the nay-sayers, fear mongers and propagandists. The reiteration of the primary aspects of the proposed bill was also a good thing. I do have to say, however, that it may or may not be deliberate in the name of politics and how that game is played BUT, I observe a tendency to be repetitive without due service to necessary expansion of points for clarity. He did not introduce anything else that has been a point of debate. So, while I trust his direction, I now need to see the contents of the proposed bill to completely satisfy myself as someone who falls smack in the fold of those significantly affected by unemployment and lack of health insurance.

  • Michele Earney

    President Barack Obama continues to impress me. He took a short vacation and returned more vigalent than ever. I was blessed to hear and see him live in Minneapolis on Saturday September 12th. Towards the end of his speech my arms were covered with goose bumps and tears filled my eyes. I’m also glad McCain and Obama are working together. McCain is impressive because his most recent actions are very presidential like. The two men can accomplish health care reform for everyone in the United States.

  • Annie Gecher

    I believe that under the will of the people, our govt should protect us. To me, that includes health care for all. Health care should be a right of the people, paid for by our taxes, just like police & fire protection, & not a privilege for only those who can afford it. I was extremely disappointed several yrs ago when the Clinton Health care reform was shot down. The insurance companies will fight to the death (& it may be your death or mine) to keep reform
    off the books. They will say or do anything to keep your money flowing into their coffers. I voted for Pres Obama, I believe in him, & I encourage my Representatives to vote for it.
    “The first duty of government is to protect the powerless against the powerful.”
    ~from the Code of Hammurabi~

  • Cornell Harris

    I don’t blame anonymous. They trully are anonymous. They should rather be ashamed which is why they are anonymous.

Last modified: April 26, 2011 at 11:17 am