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Thoughts on Obama’s visit from a health-care reform supporter and opponent

BY DI EDITORIAL STAFF | MARCH 26, 2010 7:30 AM

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President Obama stepped between the blue curtains Thursday, and a roar of applause erupted among the estimated 3,000 onlookers. The University of Iowa Field House held more than badminton and volleyball classes. It held a celebration for one of the most momentous moments in health-care reform history.

Despite the imperfections of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, I fully support and am proud of the current administration’s efforts to reconstruct the flawed medical industry. Witnessing firsthand the remarks of Obama made me grateful as an attendant and excited as a youth of America.

Coming home to hear the reconciliation package just capped the day.

“This historic change didn’t start in Washington,” Obama told the crowd. “It began in places like Iowa City.”

Three years ago, Obama commenced stumping for health-care reform at the UI. His return is simply fitting for the times, after signing the bill into law Tuesday. It’s true, the president’s speech was not earthshattering or full of groundbreaking revelation.

But the energy radiating from the gym suggests American citizens are fed up — sick of paying high premiums, sick of insurance discrimination, sick of being afraid to get sick. And I completely understand the crowd’s — save one heckler screaming for the public option — sentiment.

But perhaps the most interesting, and confrontational, component of the speech: Obama’s challenging of reform opponents. First, he joked about those hyperbolistic pundits and naysayers in a sardonic manner.

“They called the passage of this bill Armageddon,” Obama said.

Later, the president explicitly dared Republicans to try to repeal the newly signed reform law.

“If they want to have that fight, I welcome that fight,” he said.

Personally, I welcome the sweeping overhaul of the health-care industry and laud Obama and his constituents for taking all the necessary steps to ensure its passing. As a college student with a pre-existing condition, reform couldn’t have come at a better time. When I’m out of college next year, the last thing I need is unaffordable or denied insurance.

- by Michael Dale-Stein

 

In his speech Thursday at the Field House, President Obama said, “All the critics and naysayers will have to finally confront the reality of what this reform is and what it isn’t.”

Based on the outlook for the federal government’s credit rating and public-opinion polls regarding health-care reform, Obama would be wise to “confront reality of what this reform is and isn’t” himself.

The Democrats may think the American people will come to like heavily government subsidized health care, but based on financial sector warnings regarding health care, we may not be able to afford European- inspired social welfare schemes, whether they like it or not.

On March 15, before health-care reform passed, Moody’s Investor Service, which rates government bonds, warned that if the federal government could not improve its debt management, it would downgrade the U.S. government’s credit rating. Financial intricacies aside, this downgrading would make it more expensive for the federal government to borrow money to fund its schemes for universal health coverage.

Since Obama signed the bill, the government will spend $940 billion in the next 10 years. However, the $940 billion figure is only accurate if you accept the flawed numbers the Democrats gave the Congressional Budget Office to evaluate. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., in his response to Obama at the health-care summit in February, put the bill’s actual cost at $2.3 trillion.

I might add Obama, or any other Democrat for that matter, did not have a germane response to Ryan’s cost estimate.

Finally, Obama said he “welcomes that fight” to repeal health care.

I can guarantee Obama will have that fight in November. Health-care reform has united all the Tea Partiers and conservatives of all shades to not only repeal Obamacare but also replace it.

With some polls public sentiment against the health-reform law, Obama will likely be forced to “confront reality” with a Republican majority in Congress that will enjoy a mandate to repeal as much of Obamacare as possible, alongside 13 states who are challenging Obamacare in court.

Put down the Kool-Aid, Iowa City, it will only make you “confront reality” later.

- by Jonathan Groves


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