Intended for healthcare professionals


Obama calls on Congress to pass health reform and explains his plan

BMJ 2009; 339 doi: (Published 10 September 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;339:b3719
  1. Janice Hopkins Tanne
  1. 1New York

    President Barack Obama spelled out his plan for reforming US health care in a speech last night. He insisted that it was the moral thing to do and now was the time to do it.

    Previously he has laid out broad principles and relied on Congress to come up with a detailed plan, which led to acrimony and confusion.

    “The plan I’m announcing tonight would meet three basic goals,” he said. They are stability and security for people who have health insurance so that they don’t lose it if they change jobs or become ill; insurance for people who don’t have it; and slowing the growth in healthcare costs.

    The president spoke before a rare joint session of both houses of Congress, which also included members of his cabinet, justices of the Supreme Court, and dignitaries. His speech was carried live by the major television networks except the conservative Fox News.

    “I am not the first president to take up this cause, but I am determined to be the last,” President Obama said, recalling that it was nearly a century since Theodore Roosevelt first called for healthcare reform. Failure to meet the challenge “has led us to a breaking point,” where the working middle class can’t get insurance through their jobs, can’t afford to buy a policy, or …

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