“If the current trends continue, more and more families will lose their health care,” President Obama said at a press conference on Wednesday.
During the press conference, which was aired live on every major network except for Fox, the President stated that he, “won’t sign a bill that I don’t think will work… I’m confident that if we keep at it… we can arrive at a bill that will improve the lives of the American people.”
According to a recent study by Families USA, one in three Americans under 65 found themselves uninsured at some point during 2007 and 2008. Four out of five of them were in working families. Figures by the US Census put the number of uninsured Americans at 47 millions. The President’s proposed bill would add coverage for 23 million people by 2013 and 37 million by 2019.
“The House health reform bill offers peace of mind to families across the country by guaranteeing affordable health coverage and care for virtually all Americans,” said Ron Pollack, Executive Director of Families USA. “By extending and protecting health coverage it will lower health premiums for those people who currently have insurance.”
Not everyone is as enthusiastic about the health care plan. According to a Washington Post/ABC poll, 44% of Americans disapprove of President Obama’s handling of health care versus a 49% approval rating. Much of the criticism about the plan revolves around the large cost, which will cost approximately $1 trillion over 10 years.
The President responded to the criticism during the press conference saying, “there may be a number of different ways to raise money… I think mine is the best one.” The President is suggesting a tax on families who make more than $1 million a year, but insisted he would oppose any raised taxes on the middle class. Two thirds of the cost would come from already existing programs.
In addition to explaining the details of his health reform bill, President Obama spent much of the press conference defending his actions in the economic recovery efforts. He linked the economic recovery with health care by saying, “if we do not control these costs, we will not be able to control our deficit. As we rescue this economy from a full-blown crisis, we must rebuild it stronger than before, and health reform is central to that effort.”