Universal

An Economically Created Health Care Disaster

And your state is sure to be suffering:

Medicaid rolls are surging, by unprecedented rates in some states, as the recession tightens its grip on the economy and Americans lose their employer-sponsored health coverage along with their jobs.” In many states, Medicaid rolls grew by 5 to 10 percent in the last year, often double the growth the previous year. Congress is likely to extend Medicaid aid to states in the upcoming stimulus package.

And, as early as March, Obama will be moving forward on health care reform, according to the Politico:

The move signals Obama’s intent to keep one of the most ambitious and politically crucial campaign promises at the top of his agenda. On the campaign trail, Obama pledged to provide universal health care by the end of his first term, but the severity of the economic downturn has raised doubts about how quickly he can deliver on that promise. Obama and his point person on health care, former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, have staffed up like they plan to push forward with it, lining up a roster of communications and policy strategists to assist in the effort.

I wrote last week on a Tom Daschle statement that could be taken as a signal of which way Obama wants him to go:

Obama and Daschle Announce Health Initiative

It was frustrating that one of the most important initiatives of the Obama transition was overshadowed by the Blagojevich scandal at Obama's press conference today. After a few remarks to the effect that the Illinois governor is unfit to serve the remainder of his term, Obama announced that he was nominating Tom Dascle not only to head the Department of Health and Human Services, but also to lead a White House Task force which has been set up to reform the nation's health care system. Predictably, all but one of the reporters asked questions about the scandal rather than the important news regarding the appointment.

President-elect Barack Obama says health care must be addressed in order to fix the economy.

President-elect Barack Obama empahsized the fact that the shortcomings of the American system are not only destrroying the lives of people who cannot afford insurance but that it has serious ramifications for the economy. Half of the bankruptcies in the US occur because of families being unable to meet  health care costs and American corporations that offer health care benefits to their employees are becoming uncompetitive because of the sky rocketing costs.

In answer to the reporter who asked whether he could afford to follow through on his campaign promises that every American would be covered by high-quality, affordable health care, he gave a strongly affirmative reply. He introduced Daschle as "one of America's foremost healthcare experts.

Daschle, speaking after the President Elect reiterated Obama's message that we cannot afford NOT to reform the system.:

At a time that there is so much at stake, there is no question that fixing health care is and has been for many years our largest domestic policy challenge," Daschle said. "Addressing our health care challenges will not only mean healthier and longer lives for millions -- it will also make American companies more competitive, address the cause of half of all of our personal bankruptcies and foreclosures, and help pull our economy out of its current tailspin.

You can see Daschle's remarks here. The video and the photo from CNN.com