The State of the Union: Pass Healthcare Reform Legislation

President Barack Obama used his first State of the Union Address to tell members of the House and Senate to continue their efforts to enact healthcare reform. “As temperatures cool, I want everyone to take another look at the plan we’ve proposed,” the president said.  “Not now.  Not when we are so close.  By the time I’m finished speaking tonight, more Americans will have lost their health insurance.  I will not walk away from these Americans and neither should the people in this chamber.”  The president’s comments won applause and ovations from both sides of the aisle.

Richard Umbdenstock, president and CEO of the American Hospital Association said “I think it’s the right approach.”  Umbdenstock, who worked closely with the Obama administration to shape elements of healthcare reform legislation, said it was “important work” and “there is a real need to continue.”  He also linked healthcare reform to the crucial issue of job creation, noting that “Hospitals are the second largest source of private sector jobs.”

Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) said “I think the House should just pass the Senate bill,” although he agreed that there likely will be efforts to amend the legislation through a procedure that allows passage on a simple majority vote.  “But clearly the House can pass the Senate bill and the Senate’s bill is a good bill.”

“We all know we’ve been trying to get healthcare done since Teddy Roosevelt,” Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) commented on Wednesday.  “So a few more weeks isn’t a long period of time in the context of how tough a fight this is when you go up against the special interest.  We’ll do it and we’ll do it the right way.”

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