The President’s Speech

September 10, 2009
7:46 am

President Obama is right when he says the time for action on health reform is now.  He’s also correct when he says that there is widespread agreement on most of the components of meaningful reform.   Nothing should stand in the way of Congress acting to expand coverage and enact necessary delivery reforms, payment reforms and wellness and prevention initiatives.

I believe the President could have done more to close the divisions that exist on this politically-charged issue.  There is still too much unnecessary and gratuitous criticism of insurers, who called more than two years ago for the insurance reforms the president cited.  There is still too much rhetorical dividing of the country between advocates and opponents of health reform when, in fact, those labeled “opponents” simply have different ideas on how to improve the healthcare system.  And there is still too little acknowledgement that a government-run health plan can, over time, undermine choice and competition and hurt patients and health providers by paying too little for healthcare services.

I applaud the President for saying he was open to ideas that may make his plan better.  I think we all need to participate in that process, sharing ideas and finding a common ground on approaches to achieve broader coverage, higher healthcare quality and greater cost-effectiveness.

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