I suffer no illusions that this will be an easy process. It will be hard. But I also know that nearly a century after Teddy Roosevelt first called for reform, the cost of our health care has weighed down our economy and the conscience of our nation long enough. So let there be no doubt: health care reform cannot wait, it must not wait, and it will not wait another year."
– President Barack Obama, February 24, 2009
The President signed the Children’s Health Insurance Reauthorization Act on February 4, 2009, which provides quality health care to 11 million kids – 4 million who were previously uninsured.
The President’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act protects health coverage for 7 million Americans who lose their jobs through a 65 percent COBRA subsidy to make coverage affordable.
- The Recovery Act also invests $19 billion in computerized medical records that will help to reduce costs and improve quality while ensuring patients’ privacy.
- The Recovery Act also provides:
$1 billion for prevention and wellness to improve America’s health and help to reduce health care costs;
- $1.1 billion for research to give doctors tools to make the best treatment decisions for their patients by providing objective information on the relative benefits of treatments; and
$500 million for health workforce to help train the next generation of doctors and nurses.
President Obama is committed to working with Congress to pass comprehensive health reform in his first year in order to control rising health care costs, guarantee choice of doctor, and assure high-quality, affordable health care for all Americans.
- Learn about the fundamental health insurance consumer protections included in reform.
Comprehensive health care reform can no longer wait. Rapidly escalating health care costs are crushing family, business, and government budgets. Employer-sponsored health insurance premiums have doubled in the last 9 years, a rate 3 times faster than cumulative wage increases. This forces families to sit around the kitchen table to make impossible choices between paying rent or paying health premiums. Given all that we spend on health care, American families should not be presented with that choice. The United States spent approximately $2.2 trillion on health care in 2007, or $7,421 per person – nearly twice the average of other developed nations. Americans spend more on health care than on housing or food. If rapid health cost growth persists, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that by 2025, one out of every four dollars in our national economy will be tied up in the health system. This growing burden will limit other investments and priorities that are needed to grow our economy. Rising health care costs also affect our economic competitiveness in the global economy, as American companies compete against companies in other countries that have dramatically lower health care costs.
The President has vowed that the health reform process will be different in his Administration – an open, inclusive, and transparent process where all ideas are encouraged and all parties work together to find a solution to the health care crisis. Working together with members of Congress, doctors and hospitals, businesses and unions, and other key health care stakeholders, the President is committed to making sure we finally enact comprehensive health care reform.
The Administration believes that comprehensive health reform should:
- Reduce long-term growth of health care costs for businesses and government
- Protect families from bankruptcy or debt because of health care costs
- Guarantee choice of doctors and health plans
- Invest in prevention and wellness
- Improve patient safety and quality of care
- Assure affordable, quality health coverage for all Americans
- Maintain coverage when you change or lose your job
- End barriers to coverage for people with pre-existing medical conditions
Please visit http://www.whitehouse.gov/issues/health_care/#TB_inline?height=220&width=370&inlineId=tb_external&linkId=4 to learn more about the President’s commitment to enacting comprehensive health reform this year.