President Barack Obama was interviewed by ABC News today. He made clear that he heard the anger of Massachusetts votes, but he didn’t back away from health reform. In fact, he made the case for continuing the effort. Neither is Speaker Nancy Pelosi backing away:
The need and urgency for health reform that was true last year and last week is still true today and this week and this year. Families continue to wonder if their coverage is going to be there for them if they need it.
The urgency for health reform does not change because of one special election in the state where health reform least mattered, since they already adopted many of reform’s benefits, from regulating insurers so there are no denials for pre-existing conditions, to providing subsidies to low and moderate income families to afford coverage. Even the candidate opposed to national health reform did not oppose the policies in Massachusetts once they were adopted.
Given the extent of California’s health crisis, Californians need health reform more than ever, and to pass a final proposal quickly. Californians are more likely to be uninsured, face a higher cost-of-living, are at greater risk to be denied for coverage for pre-existing conditions, and are less likely to be offered on-the-job coverage. Health reform would disproportionately help Californians, providing new choices for the uninsured, more security for the underinsured, stability for our safety net, and savings for our state budget.
We thank the President and Speaker Pelosi for her leadership in continuing the effort to solve the pressing problems that patients face. We look forward to working with them, especially our California Congressional delegation led by Speaker Pelosi, to pass health reform and to continue to improve our health system in the months and years to come.