Jewish Democrats Thank Obama for Health Care Reform

By Natasha Mozgavaya (Haaretz)

Published March 23, 2010.

U.S. Jewish Democrats on Tuesday said President Barack Obama deserved a “thanks” for his “historic achievement” in getting the House of Representatives to approve a health care reform package which will expand insurance coverage to nearly all Americans.

“This achievement is owed primarily to this President’s determination and genuine leadership,” said David A. Harris, President of the National Jewish Democratic Council. “From the beginning of his campaign until today, President Barack Obama has not wavered in his commitment to complete this paramount mission, for the benefit of every American.”

The package was approved by House Democrats in a late-night 219-212 vote, bringing about the most dramatic health policy changes in four decades. The bill, already passed by the Senate, was signed on by Obama on Tuesday into law.

“As American Jews observe the Passover ritual of the Seder next week, we will be asking ourselves the question, ‘Why is this night different from all other nights?’” Harris said in a statement. “That same question is every bit as applicable today - since after this transformative moment at the White House, so much about our nation?s health care system will be dramatically improved for the better.”

“We are ecstatic that more than 30 million uninsured Americans will finally have health insurance coverage; that pre-existing conditions will no longer preclude Americans from getting insurance; and that millions of Americans will be able to stop choosing between food and medicine. Finally, sweeping change for the better has come,” added Harris.

“It is worth pausing and reflecting on how this moment came to be - this achievement is owed primarily to this president’s determination and genuine leadership,” said Harris. “From the beginning of his campaign until today, President Barack Obama has not wavered in his commitment to complete this paramount mission, for the benefit of every American.”

“In reaching this goal, President Obama has achieved a victory that has eluded the American people and presidents before him for the better part of a century. For this, Americans owe President Obama a profound ‘thanks.’”

The overhaul will extend health coverage to 32 million Americans, expand the government health plan for the poor, impose new taxes on the wealthy and bar insurance practices such as refusing to cover people with pre-existing medical conditions.

The vote capped a year-long political battle with Republicans that consumed the U.S. Congress and dented Obama’s approval ratings, and fulfilled a goal that had eluded many presidents for a century - most recently Democrat Bill Clinton in 1994.



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