VIDEO: Obama promotes new healthcare benefits in weekly address

President Barack Obama touted the benefits of his signature healthcare law on Saturday in his weekly radio address.

The president highlighted the pressure on insurers to end the practice of recissions and new rules that allow young adults to stay on their parents' healthcare plans until age 26.

Find the entire address below:


What we got wrong (and right) about 'crack babies' (Rep. Jim McDermott)

In 1965, New York State pioneered an innovative effort to encourage the adoption of children out of foster care. New York recognized that children with special needs within the foster care system generally languished in care and faced severe barriers to adoption. Attempting to overcome some of these barriers, and acknowledging the unusual and long-term costs of caring for special needs children, the state began to offer incentive payments to encourage their adoption. Because this practice enabled many loving families to adopt children they otherwise could not care for, it was embraced by many jurisdictions. This practice was codified in federal law in the Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act of 1980.

The passage of the Adoption Assistance Act was especially well-timed. In the late 1980s, this country experienced unprecedented social and economic crises. Homelessness, which began primarily among individuals who were part of the de-institutionalization process, spread to entire families with children. We also saw the explosion of the drug epidemic, which included a boom in the use of crack-cocaine, cocaine, PCP, and other drugs. This epidemic not only destabilized individuals, it also endangered families with children and entire communities. "Crack baby" became a common phrase in our language, and, increasingly, women abandoned their babies in hospitals. "Crack babies" were sensationalized by the media and written off while still infants. These babies were in for "a life of certain suffering, of probable deviance, of permanent inferiority," according to columnist Charles Krauthammer. Well, these children are coming into adulthood now, and a recent Washington Post article sheds light on just where and how we got it wrong. What it doesn't point out is where we got it right.

The Washington Post followed some of these so-called "crack babies" and, among notable findings, "(I)n the two decades that have passed since crack dominated drug markets in the District and around the nation, these babies have grown into young adults who can tell their stories -- and for the most part, they are tales of success."


Health care reform or a war on minorities?

The White House has just released a plan to curry favor with African Americans and Hispanics for the 2010 election. What’s remarkable is that they can do that so soon after  declaring war on low-income and minority Americans with their health care reform law.  A process that began admirably—to increase access, decrease costs and encourage quality—was jettisoned for $474 billion in direct bailouts to health insurers, $500 billion in Medicare cuts, 17 million new enrollees in the already bankrupt Medicaid system, and a new tax penalty estimated to impact millions of middle class American families.  And the group given the fewest crumbs in this unfolding disaster?  The same Americans who are always told “we’ll fix it tomorrow”— low-income and minority groups.

Minority seniors will be hit first.  Using 2007 data, 80% of Hispanic seniors making less than $20,000 per year were enrolled in a Medicare Advantage program.  The Democrat’s health care law cuts $132 billion from this program.  The Medicare actuary analysis released last week showed that at least half of all enrollees will lose their plan, and others will see higher premiums and lower benefits.  Those who are dumped back into ‘traditional Medicare’ will have insurance, but will have higher out of pocket costs.


Stemming growth in government (Rep. Randy Forbes)

Under the recently passed healthcare bill, the IRS is required to collect thousands of dollars in fines against taxpayers and businesses if they do not purchase federally mandated health insurance.


In order to enforce new healthcare mandates, the IRS will need to hire additional personnel to enforce compliance. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has estimated that it may cost as much as $10 billion to hire these new auditors, agents, and/or employees to ensure compliance.


How far will liberals go to avoid criticism? (Rep. Paul Broun)

Within 24 hours of the government-run health care system being signed into law, Caterpillar announced that the new taxes included in ObamaCare would cost the company $100 million.  Soon after, other large companies like AT&T, John Deere, 3M, AK Steel, and Valero Energy echoed similar concerns.  Caterpillar and these other companies were simply abiding by their legal obligation to make this announcement to its employees and shareholders. 

The truth has not set well with some liberal leaders.  In fact, House Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman and the latest ObamaCare supporter, Bart Stupak, have requested to hold hearings and summoned these dissenters to testify.  There has even been speculation that these CEOs could be forced to open their companies’ books and submit private emails regarding the health care legislation.

Do these liberal leaders really prefer corporations to violate their legal obligation and ultimately, freedom of speech in order to hide the truth about how Obamacare hurts job creators? This bullying is a clear abuse of power. 


ObamaCare's impact on doctors (Rep. Michael Burgess)

As the health care reform debate began over a year ago, the American Medical Association, the top doctors group in the country, released a list of its top priorities for health reform. The AMA is a powerful association, and many have credited it with helping to kill HillaryCare, so the organization, of which I am a member, was in a good position to impact President Obama’s health care reform plan and accomplish some of doctors’ long-awaited goals. Remember, without doctors, there is no health care, so it is important that health reform address the issues that are important to doctors and will help them keep their doors open and better serve America’s patients.

Two of the AMA’s top priorities are also two of the main reasons I decided to run for Congress almost 10 years ago – repealing the flawed Medicare physician payment formula, and nationwide medical liability reform. Unfortunately for doctors, Democrats in Washington, who have had control of Congress for over 3 years, have shown absolutely no signs of seriously addressing either of these issues. But with the AMA’s clout, I was hopeful that this time, with comprehensive health care reform a major goal for President Obama, these two big issues would finally be addressed.


Healthcare reform a historic day for U.S. (Speaker Nancy Pelosi)

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) delivered the following remarks this morning while "enrolling" (signing) the reconciliation bill that made changes to healthcare reform.

"Good morning.  It is with great pride and even more humility that we come together today to enroll this important legislation.  In doing so, Congress will act as others before us did to do something very important for the American people, very significant to their daily lives.

“Others before us brought forth Social Security, Medicare, the Civil Rights Acts, some of the landmark legislation in our country’s history.  And today, we have the opportunity in the House to sign this legislation to enroll this important legislation to send to the President of the United States for his signature.

“We calmly reviewed the events of the last week or so, which brought us to victory in passing the base bill, the Senate bill.  Essential to its passage was the passage of a second bill, which would make significant improvements on the Senate bill.  Only then would we be able to pass the Senate bill.  A matter of trust between the House and the Senate — we were able to pass the Senate bill here knowing that the Senate would pass the House improvements.  Senator Reid did a remarkable job keeping everyone together — we were thrilled yesterday to see very substantial victory yesterday for these improvements.

“What happens now is the result of the work of many people.  You have heard me sing the praises of our leadership over and over again, and of course, the President of the United States.  But the victory that we have is largely attributed to our newest Members of Congress.  We’ve had generations of working on this legislation.  Mr. Dingell, what an honor it is to serve with you.  You have been our inspiration.  [Applause.]  And his father before him — my father served with Mr. Dingell’s father — his father before him introducing every term in Congress, universal health care for all Americans.


Health care bill should apply to everyone (Rep. Michele Bachmann)

This week my offices have been flooded with calls about the issue of certain Congressional staffers being exempt from the health care bill, and rightly so.

Doesn’t it seem odd that Democratic leaders in the House were so excited to get the health care bill passed, yet certain Congressional staffers have made themselves exempt to its requirements? 

Senator Chuck Grassley explained the division to Politico:

“The new health care law creates two double standards. The congressional staff who wrote the new law exempted themselves from the new health care system, while other staff will be in it,” Grassley said today in a statement. “And, President Obama himself will not live under Obama health care. The message to grassroots America is that it’s good enough for you, but not for us.”

Why are the American people ordered to abide by this health care law while certain congressional staffers are exempt? If Congress really believed this bill is so great, then they too should abide by its requirements. If nothing else,  this exemption tells us in black and white that this legislation is not as good as advertised. If it were, there would be no need for the exemption.

Cross-posted from


Change to believe in or focus for hate-mongering?

When President Barack Obama signed the historic health insurance reform bill, he said it was “Change we can believe in.” He noted that his party has sought reform for more than half a century. The effort began long before President Harry Truman recommended to Congress on Nov. 19, 1945 a comprehensive health program, noting: “People with low or moderate incomes do not get the same medical attention as those with high incomes. The poor have more sickness, but they get less medical care.”

The legislation Obama signed will tax the wealthy – those earning more than a quarter million dollars a year – to help pay for extending insurance to millions of poor and working people and for guaranteeing insurance companies can’t deny access to those with pre-existing conditions or withdraw coverage from those who get sick. 

Republicans have vowed to overturn or repeal this law that would aid tens of millions of Americans. House Republican leader John Boehner yelled, “hell no” repeatedly to the reform proposals and described them as “Armageddon.” 


Why Is AG Rob McKenna suing the Federal Government to stop health care? (Rep. Jay Inslee)

Well, that didn't take long.

Sunday, I was so pleased to vote for health care reform. This morning I was honored when President Obama signed the bill that provided insurance coverage to 32 million Americans, and proud of all you for helping me push the final vote through.

But even before President Obama could put pen to paper, Washington Attorney General Robert McKenna announced that he was hell bent on tearing down all of this progress.

By announcing that he would join a partisan group of Attorneys General from states like South Carolina and Texas in suing the federal government to stop health care reform, he's made it clear this isn't about people -- it's about scoring cheap political points with the extreme right wing.

This is unacceptable. My colleagues and I fought over 2,000 insurance lobbyists in Washington DC to get health care reform passed -- and now we have to fight Washington State's Attorney General too?