Thursday, July 23, 2009

President Obama's press conference on health care reform

Last night President Obama gave a press conference on health care reform to answer a lot of people's concerns. If you didn't watch the speech, I highly recommend you do now.

One of the biggest concerns that I've heard from conservatives I know is the fear that this is going to raise our taxes. In his press conference, Obama clearly states that he will not raise taxes on middle-class Americans. This means that for the vast majority of people, insuring the uninsured will NOT cost you anything.

Two-thirds of the plan is going to be completely paid for by reallocating tax dollars from other health programs that are not working. In other words, two-thirds of the funding for this plan is already being paid into the system, and is being essentially thrown away. It makes sense to redirect that funding into a program that will benefit Americans.

The other one-third of the funding is where the debate currently lies. Obama promises in the speech that he will absolutely not sign a bill that acquires funding by raising taxes on middle-class Americans. One proposal has been to raise taxes on people earning more than $1 million per year (which I don't see a problem with — if you have that much money you can afford to help the less fortunate), but there are also other options currently on the table that don't require raising taxes on anyone.

Obama also talks about how his plan will set in place some (much needed, in my opinion) regulation on the health insurance industry. For one thing, it will stop health insurance companies from denying you coverage for a pre-existing condition, and limit the amount of money that they can make you pay out-of-pocket. For a diabetic, this is extremely important, because not only will we be able to buy individual health insurance, but we will also be able to afford it.

Health care reform means more to me than almost any other issue. I don't think it's fair that in America, some people live in houses the size of small countries, while other people are dying from treatable conditions because they can't afford health insurance. That just should not happen in a country as great as ours.

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