Obama Takes Health Reform On The Road, Touts Key Consumer Provisions

President Obama Wednesday took to the suburbs of Washington, D.C. to tout provisions of the new health law that protect consumers. These changes go into effect Thursday.

CBS News: “Speaking to voters in the backyard of a private residence in Northern Virginia, Mr. Obama called the reforms that go into effect tomorrow ‘the most important “Patient’s Bill of Rights” that we’ve ever seen in history.’ … Yet even as some of the reforms finally begin to kick in, misconceptions about the legislation persist, and efforts to roll back the laws — such as lawsuits against them — are moving forward. And just weeks before the midterm elections, Democrats have yet to see the political benefits of the overhaul materialize” (Condon, 9/22).

Los Angeles Times/Tribune Washington Bureau: “Though many of the most sweeping benefits of the law do not go into effect for years, millions of consumers stand to gain substantial new protections starting this fall. (The benefits apply to plan years starting Thursday or later, although because many Americans’ health plans renew in January, they may not see these until then.) Insurance companies will be prohibited from canceling policies when customers get sick, or denying coverage to sick children. The law will allow parents to keep their adult children up to age 26 on their family plans and will bar insurers from placing lifetime caps on how much they will pay when their customers get ill. And many consumers will get new rights to appeal claims that are denied by insurers and win new access to preventive care without having to be asked for co-pays.” Obama also met Wednesday morning with state insurance commissioners, who are tasked with writing some regulations to help protect consumers from “excessive” rate hikes by insurers (Levey, 9/22).

The Associated Press: “Polling shows the law remains unpopular with much of the public and that many people don’t know what’s in it. With crucial midterm elections six weeks away, the White House is undertaking an effort to tell people what’s in the law that will help them. Obama held a health care discussion Tuesday with about 20 people gathered in the sunny backyard of home in suburban Falls Church, Va. He said he sought the new law because rising health care costs were ‘bankrupting families, companies and our government'” (Werner, 9/22).

USA Today: “This is obviously a friendly crowd; a woman protests the ‘dis-information’ campaign surrounding the health care bill, and says it has helped her business. She wonders how Obama can counter all the mis-information. Obama talks to the woman about her business, a local bookstore, and its health care costs. He also calls on reporters to report the woman’s story, and spread the word that the health care law is a ‘good deal’ for small businesses” (Jackson, 9/22).

Bloomberg: Obama “said politicians who want to repeal this year’s health-care overhaul should have to explain to people who need insurance that they won’t be able to buy it. ‘I want them to look you in the eye and say sorry,’ he said, ‘you can’t buy health insurance.'” Obama also talked about the cost of the legislation. “‘Why would you want to repeal something that the Congressional Budget Office says is going to save us $1 trillion if you’re serious about the deficit?’ he said” (Johnston, 9/22).

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