Obama Offers Bleak View of Health System Without Reform

Posted July 18, 2009 at 5:58am

Though he frequently accuses opponents of his health reform plan of using fear tactics, President Barack Obama in his weekly address Saturday offered a dire portrait of a country without a new health system — a place where people can go bankrupt trying to get the care they need.Obama described what he said were the stakes involved in the debate. “It’s about … every worker afraid of losing health insurance if they lose their job, or change jobs,— he said. “It’s about a woman in Colorado who told us that when she was diagnosed with breast cancer, her insurance company — the one she’d paid over $700 a month to — refused to pay for her treatment. She had to use up her retirement funds to save her own life.— Obama described a “man from Maryland— who “needed emergency surgery, and woke up $10,000 in debt.—The president also sought to answer some of the criticisms of the plan that have been percolating, denying that reform would lead to “socialism— or “record— deficits. “The same folks who controlled the White House and Congress for the past eight years as we ran up record deficits will argue — believe it or not — that health reform will lead to record deficits,— Obama said. “That’s simply not true. Our proposals cut hundreds of billions of dollars in unnecessary spending and unwarranted giveaways to insurance companies in Medicare and Medicaid.— Obama added that he does not “believe that government can or should run health care.— In the GOP weekly address, Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (Ariz.) offered up some of the very arguments Obama said he was trying to refute, suggesting just the type of government control and runaway spending Obama says his plan won’t provoke. Kyl listed several longstanding GOP ideas that he says would improve health care, including allowing small businesses to pool insurance and curbing medical malpractice suits.“These changes do not require government takeover of the health care system or massive new spending, job-killing taxes or rationing of care,— Kyl said. “Democrats in Congress have a different approach. Their plan would increase spending by more than $2 trillion when fully implemented, and would, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, add additional costs onto an already unsustainable system.’—He argued that the costs of Obama’s plan would harm an already strapped economy.“With a shaky economy and the need for new jobs, the last thing the president and the Congress should do is impose new taxes on America’s small businesses,— Kyl said. “New taxes on small business would cripple job creation, especially jobs for low-wage earners.—