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Thursday, January 14,2010

Obama, one year later

An evaluation of the president's first year

By BoulderWeekly.com

Health care

Whether you agree with Obama’s health care plan or not, you can’t deny the history he’s made with pushing for the reformation of the country’s ailing health care system. On Nov. 7, the House of Representatives passed the Affordable Health Care for America Act, which included some of Obama’s biggest sticking points, like affordable health care options for all Americans, making it illegal to deny insurance coverage based on pre-existing health conditions and removing caps on annual and lifetime coverage. The Senate passed its version of the bill, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, on Dec. 24, making it the first time in history that a health care reform bill has gotten this far in Congress.

Detractors of the bill fear that it will increase the national deficit, while Democrats say the bill will actually reduce the deficit. Other critics say Americans could be forced from their current insurance plans into a government-controlled health care system.

But Obama has been steadfast in pushing for reform because, as he said in his Sept. 9 speech to a joint session of Congress, the country can no longer sit on its hands.

“I understand how difficult this health care debate has been,” he said. “I know that many in this country are deeply skeptical that government is looking out for them. I understand that the politically safe move would be to kick the can further down the road — to defer reform one more year, or one more election, or one more term.

“But that is not what the moment calls for. That’s not what we came here to do. We did not come to fear the future. We came here to shape it.”

The bill, however, still faces an uphill battle. The Joint Conference Committee must resolve the differences between the House and the Senate versions of the bill, and then it must be approved by Congress.

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