On Wednesday night President Barack Obama addressed a joint session of Congress
outlining his position on healthcare. He “invoked history,” as The
‘s editor and publisher Katrina vanden Heuvel had hoped. The
almost century-long fight for healthcare reform by Presidents Roosevelt,
Truman, Johnson and Clinton is at its peak now, at the times of great
economic instability and continuing wars. “I am not the first president
to take up this cause, but I am determined to be the last,” said Obama.
He addressed the misinformation and unfair tactics used by so many
throughout the month of August warning that those who misrepresent the
content of the bill will be “call[ed] out.” He reinforced his claim to
prevent insurance companies from denying coverage with pre-existing
conditions. He spoke about bipartisanship and the need to reach across
the aisle to improve the new healthcare bill instead of trying to kill

President Obama spoke about options and choices, but when he finally got
to the part about the public option, his speech lost its vigor, making
The Nation‘s own John Nichols conclude that “the
‘great unfinished business of our society’–as the late Edward Kennedy described the pursuit of universal healthcare in a last letter to Obama–might remain unfinished under a president who means well but does not necessarily
fight well.”

Olga Razumovskaya

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