President’s Statements on Health Care Legislation

April 5, 2010

By Padmini Arhant

Hon. President Barack Obama

Dear Mr. President,

Thank you for your letter on the health care legislation.

I deeply appreciate your kind remarks and present the main content of your letter for public reference.

“We succeeded where seven presidents did not.

We mobilized and organized. We helped secure the dream of our nation’s founding.

Our success marks a new season for our country – one in which mothers, fathers, sons and daughters no longer live in fear of a system that works better for the insurance industry than it does for ordinary people.

What we have done here is remarkable. It is historic. And many believed this day would never come.

With all the punditry, with all of the lobbying, with all of the game-playing that too often passes for governing, it’s been easy, at times, to doubt our ability to finish the job on health insurance reform.

We would not fall prey to fear. We would not settle for an easy way out. We would not stop until we passed this reform.

We passed this reform for 5th-grader Marcelas Owens, whose mother died because she didn’t get the health care she needed after she got sick, lost her job and her health insurance. Marcelas’ message to Congress was simple: “Finish health care reform. No other kid should lose their mom because they don’t have health care.”

We passed this reform for Ryan Smith, a small business owner with five employees. Ryan was doing his part to provide health insurance to his employees, but cannot keep up with rising health care costs.

We passed this reform for Natoma Canfield, who wrote to tell me that she could no longer afford her health insurance policy. Since losing her health insurance coverage in January, Natoma has been diagnosed with Leukemia and is fighting for her life.

And we passed this reform for my mother, who argued with insurance companies even as she battled cancer in her final days.

In Marcela, Ryan, Natoma, my mom and so many other Americans, we are reminded of what this fight was about. It wasn’t about politics. It was about doing the right thing, and taking care of the hardworking people that make our country great.

Now we need to begin the process of implementing these historic changes.

To ensure a successful, stable transition, many of these changes will phase into full effect over the next several years.

But for millions of Americans, many of the benefits of reform will begin this year – some will even take effect this week.

Small businesses will receive significant tax cuts, this year, to help them afford health coverage for all their employees. Seniors are going to receive a rebate to reduce drug costs not yet covered under Medicare. Young people will be allowed coverage under their parents’ plan until the age of 26. Early retirees will receive help to reduce premium costs, and children will be protected against discrimination on the basis of medical history.

But we’re not stopping there.

Uninsured Americans with pre-existing conditions can join a special high-risk pool to get the coverage they need, starting in just 90 days. And Americans with insurance will be protected from seeing their insurance revoked when they get sick, or facing restrictive annual limits on the care they receive.

We’re also making investments to train primary care doctors, nurses, and public health professionals, and we’re creating state-level consumer assistance programs to help patients understand and defend our new rights. These changes will benefit all Americans.

We did it…And America is better for it.”


Padmini Arhant


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