Monday, November 16, 2009

Michelle Obama Speaks Out On Necessity of National Heathcare reform for Women and Senior Citizens

Michelle talks health care for women
By: Nia-Malika Henderson
November 13, 2009

First Lady Michelle Obama targeted another key constituency in the health care debate Friday, highlighting the concerns of senior women at the White House.

At a gathering of administration officials and health care advocates, Obama talked about the special responsibilities and burdens of women and seniors and how reform fits in.

"Women are among those who will benefit most from health insurance reform...We are the health care system in so many ways," Obama said in a 12-minute address. "We are asked to bear much of the responsibility but we often face challenges when it comes to our own health care."

The first lady has had similar events on health care, delivering speeches to gatherings of women, health care workers and advocates.

East Wing aides said she may hold similar events in the coming weeks, depending on how reform efforts develop in Congress.

At the Friday event three seniors took the podium in the East Room and told of health care crises and insurance problems, with Medicare in particular.

Medicare has been a major focus of the health care debate and the plans being considered call for as much as $500 billion in cuts to the government program.

Nancy-Ann DeParle, Director of White House Office of Health Reform, said that Obama's plan would "strengthen Medicare and put some fairness back in the system."

"It's the right plan for women and the right plan for America," she said.

Obama, who said she was battling a cold, did not go into specifics about what the plans being considered offered and said she didn't know what would land on her husband's desk, but said the plan would not endanger Medicare.

Using similar phrases from President Obama's talks on health care, the first lady said that health insurance reform would end "wasteful subsidies and crack down on fraud."

She said the president believes that Medicare is a "sacred part of America's safety net."

"America has a responsibility to give all seniors the golden years they deserve," she said. "That's exactly what health insurance reform is going to help us do in this country....Let's get to work."

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