Health Care Reform: The Public’s Option

President Obama’s Saturday rally underscores Metro support for him and his health care reform.

by Maureen Landsverk

If it is unclear by the flocks of Secret Service officials, road barricades and overzealous Republican protesters, the roaring cheers that shake the escalators indicate President Barack Obama is in the building. In his inspirational speech on Saturday, Sept. 12, Obama made a lasting impression, harnessing enough charisma to pack the downtown Minneapolis Target Center with an audience of 15,000. During the rare moments of silence, Obama outlined his plan for health care reform, addressing the disquieting rumors that have made his bill infamous: a larger national deficit, higher taxes and a decline in personal care for those who are already satisfied with their health insurance policies. Saturday, questions found answers and rhyme found reason as the future of American health care was laid out plainly and transparently in hope of less expensive, more effective care. For those who fear AmericaâÄôs debt will continue to increase with the passing of this bill, Obama promises to never add a dollar âÄî or a dime âÄî to the national deficit. âÄú âĦ there were a lot of initiatives over the last decade that werenâÄôt paid for âĦ I will not make the same mistake when it comes to health care.âÄù For those who hesitate at the prospect of higher taxes and the question of how our government will finance such an initiative, Obama counters with the reasoning of doctors and health care professionals across the nation: the majority of this health care reform plan can be paid for with âÄúsavings from the existing health care systemâÄù âÄî savings that are, by many doctorsâÄô predictions, being misused and irresponsibly spent. Finally, there are those who turn up their noses in antipathy, dig in their heels, reject inevitable change and retort that they are satisfied with their coverage. For those people, Obama reiterates the implication of the public option: âÄúLet me be clear: It would only be an option. Nobody would be forced to choose it. No one with insurance would be affected by it âĦ it would provide more choice and more competition.âÄù The President, in his relative youth and expansive knowledge, bridges the gap between two generations in a way that has not been seen before. These two generations, which have recently represented very different factions across the country, can each find a foothold in the new health care proposal. Obama exemplifies this by describing his public option in terms Joe College Student canâÄôt help but understand: âÄúItâÄôs the same way that public colleges and universities provide additional choice and competition to students. That doesnâÄôt inhibit private colleges and universities from thriving out there. The same should be true on the health care front.âÄù Numerous times in his struggle to push his bill forward, the President has referenced Mayo Clinic as a model health care system with its combination of high-quality care and below-average costs. Saturday, he made the point again, to standing ovations and chants of âÄúYes, we can!âÄù echoing throughout the Center. Obama possesses the insight and the intelligence to lead a nation through the sea of health care reform, a sea he himself has characterized as hard to navigate. At SaturdayâÄôs rally, he made promises and spoke words that will be remembered by attendees for their straightforwardness and honesty. The tumultuous applause and spirited street procession after the speech were clear indicators of the PresidentâÄôs approval in Minneapolis. Obama made his fervent intention to grant health care to every American known once more: âÄúI may not be the first President to take up the cause of health care reform, but I am determined to be the last.âÄù Maureen Landsverk welcomes comments at [email protected].