Health Care Hits Spin Cycle

By Lori Preuitt
|  Tuesday, Mar 23, 2010  |  Updated 12:58 PM PDT
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All smiles after the signing of the health care overhaul.

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President Barack Obama signed a $938 billion health care overhaul that guarantees coverage for 32 million uninsured Americans.

It was a political victory for sure and there were plenty of politicians at all levels of government who wanted a piece of the win.

Within minutes of the signing came a flurry of press releases from Bay Area politicians wanting to make the most of the moment.

Sen. Barbara Boxer was in the room.  She released the following statements:

"When this law takes full effect, up to 7 million uninsured Californians will get access to affordable health care and 400,000 small businesses in our state will get large tax credits when they provide health care to their workers. More than 4 million California seniors will get free preventive care and they will also see lower costs for prescription drugs.

"All Californians will benefit from consumer protections that will give them the security of knowing they will never be denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition or dropped from their health plan just because they or their family members get sick.

Rep. Barbara Lee of Oakland, the Chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, said she felt a sense of pride and joy when President Obama put his pens to paper.

"It took the clarity of purpose, the moral authority, the determination and the commitment of our 44th President Barack Obama and the brilliant and focused leadership of Speaker Nancy Pelosi to fight against the insurance industry to say that we will no longer be held hostage by corporate greed because we want all people to have access to health care," Lee said.

Adding, "This bill will help the many millions of hard working people who may have lost their jobs, or simply fallen on hard times, or have never even had the opportunity to make their way in society."

Santa Clara County Supervisor Liz Kniss was also in the room as an invited guest of the president. Kniss serves as co-chair of the Health Care Reform Task Force for the National Association of Counties.

"Families with children aging out of their existing insurance coverage will see a benefit this year," Kniss said.  "This means a lot of moms and dads will be able to rest easier knowing their older children will continue to have health coverage, especially those who have completed their studies but may not yet have employer sponsored health care."

Adding, "Our goal in all of the discussions about health reform has been to ensure that the voice and needs of counties were taken into account. We serve as the health safety net for the community.  Now that net has been expanded and we will be able to provide care for more of our residents."

Mayors also shared their thoughts.  Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums said, "Health care should be a right of all the people and not a privilege of some. This was the principle of The National Health Service Act I introduced in 1977, which provided for universal, comprehensive, affordable and accessible health care for all Americans.   The pursuit of universal health care has been a long struggle.  Too many families in Oakland and throughout America have been frustrated and turned away by our existing system." 

"Today’s bill signing is a bold first step for our nation’s health and well-being.  I am extremely proud of our nation and our president for taking this historic step on behalf of the American people."

California Democratic Party Chairman John Burton also released a couple thoughts:

"Today is a proud day for all Americans as President Obama and Democrats in Congress achieved what presidents since Teddy Roosevelt have attempted – to pass comprehensive health care reform to help the American people. This is a victory for all Californians but we are especially proud of the role that our California Democratic delegation played in passing this historic legislation.
All thirty-four of California House Democrats, led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, voted to pass historic health care reform, and Senators Feinstein and Boxer both worked tirelessly to succeed here where others had tried and failed. Because of the efforts of our California delegation we will finally have a health care system that works for Californians, not insurance companies."

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