President Obama made only glancing references to the Affordable Care Act when he addressed the Demcratic National Convention last night. This is about as close as he came to referencing the national health law:
I refuse to ask middle class families to give up their deductions for owning a home or raising their kids just to pay for another millionaire’s tax cut. I refuse to ask students to pay more for college; or kick children out of Head Start programs, or eliminate health insurance for millions of Americans who are poor, elderly, or disabled – all so those with the most can pay less.
And I will never turn Medicare into a voucher. No American should ever have to spend their golden years at the mercy of insurance companies. They should retire with the care and dignity they have earned. Yes, we will reform and strengthen Medicare for the long haul, but we’ll do it by reducing the cost of health care – not by asking seniors to pay thousands of dollars more. And we will keep the promise of Social Security by taking the responsible steps to strengthen it – not by turning it over to Wall Street.
This is the choice we now face. This is what the election comes down to. Over and over, we have been told by our opponents that bigger tax cuts and fewer regulations are the only way; that since government can’t do everything, it should do almost nothing. If you can’t afford health insurance, hope that you don’t get sick. If a company releases toxic pollution into the air your children breathe, well, that’s just the price of progress. If you can’t afford to start a business or go to college, take my opponent’s advice and “borrow money from your parents.”
Joanne Kenen of Politico writes that the law consumed much of Obama’s first term, but very little of his time at the podium:
In a passing, oblique reference, he credited the American people with ensuring that “a little girl with a heart disorder in Phoenix” will “get the surgery she needs because an insurance company can’t limit her coverage.”
In the address he could have used to celebrate his historic achievement, reintroduce it to the voters, or push back on Republican attacks, Obama had just that one line about it — and a couple of passing references to the dangers of repealing it.
Kenen and others said Obama let other speakers, Bill Clinton among them, make the case for the sweeping health care overhaul. The former president went into detail, even citing figures on the money returned to consumers because of a provision limiting what insurance companies can spend on administrative costs.