Obama aims to sway Congress

By Lauren Kelly

President Barack Obama re-established himself in the forefront of the health care reform debate by addressing Congress and proposing a reform bill during his televised speech on Sept. 9, after being noticeably absent on the issue for a few weeks. Though much has been said about health care reform and what should be done, it is apparent that Obama’s speech had a strong impact on the debate.

The fact that the president made a speech at all is commendable. His aim was to break the stalemate that Congress has been locked in on the topic of health care reform. He accomplished this by dispelling some myths that have been promulgated by both parties and carving out a space in the center, clearing the air on Capitol Hill.

There are varying opinion poll results detailing the impact of Obama’s speech on the public. According to one CNN / Opinion Research Corporation poll, approval of Obama’s plan rose 14 percent after his speech aired, while Gallup found the public’s views have not changed. But regardless of the nations’s general opinion, it is Congress that will ultimately vote to approve or reject a health care reform bill. The question is—did he sway Congress?

The president’s speech was not aimed at liberals on the far left who already agreed with him, nor was it meant for the conservatives on the far right who have a “Just Say No” policy to all of his proposed plans. He was instead talking to the independents and moderate Republicans of Congress, whom he knew he could sway.

The public will learn how successful Obama’s speech was after Congress votes on the issue.

Many details in this debate can seem abstract and far away for most college students, such as the changes to Medicare, health coverage for illegal immigrants and reforming medical malpractice lawsuits. But health care should not be a topic that young adults ignore simply because it is confusing.

In most insurance plans, parental coverage expires after a student graduates college. According to Obama’s bill, in four years every citizen will be required to have health insurance. This means current students have an obligation to get educated on the topic because it will be a major issue for them in the very near future.