Healthcare: A Moral Issue

Manila Bulletin, September 22, 2009 | Go to article overview

Healthcare: A Moral Issue


During his campaign President Obama made universal healthcare a major policy issue. But when he became president, he turned his plans over to Congress, to hopefully work out a bi-partisan bill that would suit the majority of legislators. But that didn't happen. Sides were sharply drawn between the Democrats who favored it and the Republicans who opposed "governmental takeover." A scare campaign of rumors and lies was spread by right-wing commentators on the airwaves, to defeat the plan.Unfortunately that has worked in the past. The United States is the only developed country without a universal program of healthcare coverage. 46 million Americans lack health insurance of any kind, and more are losing coverage as they lose their jobs.Presidents from Theodore Roosevelt, over a century ago, have been advocating a national healthcare program, without success. So President Obama took the lead, using his rhetorical skills before a joint session of Congress to push his plan. In a powerful speech, he made healthcare a moral issue, a reflection of the American character.He refused the "government takeover" charge by assuring people if they had health insurance, nothing requires them to change. But the plan could make their insurance better. Insurance companies would no longer be allowed to refuse coverage on the basis of a pre-existing condition or drop sick people. To the insurers, he said "I don't want to put insurance companies out of business, just hold them accountable."Employers would be required to provide health benefits for their workers, or pay a fee to help them find coverage. The plan would impose new regulations on insurers, including preventive care, and require all Americans to be insured. There would be more security of individuals since it would be against the law for insurers to drop coverage.There will be limits set on what people pay and those who don't have health insurance will be able to get coverage, just as government employees do. …

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