President Obama Signs SCHIP Bill

by Karoli on February 4, 2009 · 0 comments

in News

…and shoots across the bow of obstructionists in Congress. Expanded SCHIP benefits were widely supported on a bipartisan basis and sailed to President Obama’s desk where he signed it into law with a flourish and a warning.

The flourish:

This is not who we are. We are not a nation that leaves struggling families to fend for themselves. No child in America should be receiving her primary care in the emergency room in the middle of the night. No child should be falling behind at school because he can’t hear the teacher or see the blackboard. I refuse to accept that millions of our kids fail to reach their full potential because we fail to meet their basic needs. In a decent society, there are certain obligations that are not subject to tradeoffs or negotiation – health care for our children is one of those obligations.

The Warning

President Obama made it clear that he views his Economic Recovery and Reinvestment Plan as a key first step toward comprehensive health care reform.

Think about this – if Congress passes this recovery plan, in just one month, we’ll have done more to modernize our health care system than we’ve done in the past decade.

We’ll be on our way to computerizing all of America’s medical records, which won’t just eliminate inefficiencies, save billions of dollars and create tens of thousands of jobs – but will save lives by reducing deadly medical errors. We’ll have made the single largest investment in prevention and wellness in history – tackling problems like smoking and obesity, and helping people live longer, healthier lives. And we’ll have extended health insurance for the unemployed, so that workers who lose their jobs don’t lose their health care too.

He also made it clear that he was committed to getting this work done, and that he was not going to tolerate politics as usual with regard to Americans’ futures:

Now, in the past few days I’ve heard criticisms of this plan that echo the very same failed theories that helped lead us into this crisis – the notion that tax cuts alone will solve all our problems; that we can address this enormous crisis with half-steps and piecemeal measures; that we can ignore fundamental challenges like the high cost of health care and still expect our economy and our country to thrive.

I reject these theories, and so did the American people when they went to the polls in November and voted resoundingly for change.
So I urge members of Congress to act without delay. No plan is perfect, and we should work to make it stronger. But let’s not make the perfect the enemy of the essential. Let’s show people all over our country who are looking for leadership in this difficult time that we are equal to the task. Let’s give America’s families the support they need to weather this crisis.

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