Residents Gather to Watch Obama’s Health-Care Address to Congress

As They Express Opinions, Viewers Feel Political Tension Through TV Screen

Marcie Wolf-Hubbard considers herself “lucky.” She and her husband benefit from a break on the high cost of health insurance for their small business, Hubbard Fine Arts in Silver Spring, Md.

“We were paying $1,700 a month for health insurance, but we we’re lucky because Maryland health care is subsidized for small businesses,” Wolf-Hubbard said. The Maryland Health Care Commission offers assistance to small businesses that meet certain criteria.

Although she was “lucky,” Wolf-Hubbard knows that many Americans cannot say the same and that they could benefit from health-care reform.

“It’s time for us to seize the moment; we as a nation need this,” Wolf-Hubbard said while waiting to be seated at Busboys & Poets’ listening party for President Barack Obama’s address to Congress on Wednesday.

Wolf-Hubbard was hopeful that Obama would stick to his guns on a public health-care option.

She like many Americans had been awaiting to hear Obama’s address to Congress on health-care reform. Even through the television, many viewers said they could feel the tension between those in Congress who are for Obama’s health care reform and those who are against it.

The public health-care option is what many in the Republican party oppose most about Obama’s plan. Some have said they will not vote for the reform if a public option is included. Obama called on all Republicans and Democrats to come together and pass health-care reform that all Americans can rely on.

“The time for bickering is over,” Obama said during his address. “The time for games has passed. Now is the season for action.”

Sticking to His GunsDuring his speech he did stick to his guns.

“An additional step we can take to keep insurance companies honest is by making a not-for-profit public option available,” Obama said.

The president said his plan would provide “security and stability to those who have health care.”

“More and more Americans worry that if you move, lose your job or change your job, you’ll lose your health insurance, too,” he said. “More and more Americans pay their premiums, only to discover that their insurance company has dropped their coverage when they get sick or won’t pay the full cost of care. It happens every day.”

Obama said that the health-care crisis is America’s deficit problem. For the more than 30 million Americans who do not have health insurance, he said they would have the opportunity to afford it under his health-care reform.

Obama pushed reform that would allow Americans to have more options and that would create competition among health-care providers.

“A Long Road Ahead” Travis Pierce of Washington, who is currently under his employer’s health insurance, is not concerned about his own well being, but the well being of what health-care reform means to the country.

“There is a long road ahead for health care for reform,” Pierce said. “I don’t think Obama addressed how hard this is going to be. He made it seem too easy, as if the moment he signs the bill people will magically be able to get health care. This isn’t what is going to happen.”

Pierce said he was glad Obama addressed the “scare tactics” about health-care reform.

“Some of people’s concerns have grown out of bogus claims spread by those whose only agenda is to kill reform at any cost,” Obama said. “The best example is the claim, made not just by radio and cable talk show hosts, but by prominent politicians, that we plan to set up panels of bureaucrats with the power to kill off senior citizens.”

He said that the trust fund for Medicare would not be touched.

“Under our plan, no federal dollars will be used to fund abortions, and federal conscience laws will remain in place,” Obama said.

“Now, my health-care proposal has also been attacked by some who oppose reform as a ‘government takeover’ of the entire health care system.”

Obama also said his health-care reform would not lead to health insurance run by the government, but it would create competition and allow health-care prices to go down.

After listening to his address, Wolf-Hubbard said that she remains hopeful that Obama will in fact be the last president to have to address the health-care issues in America.