President pitches health care in Pa.

    President Barack Obama received a warm welcome at Arcardia University in Glenside, Pennsylvania Monday. The crowd erupted into cheers as the president outlined his goals for overhauling health care.

    President Barack Obama launched a brief tour on health care at Arcadia University outside Philadelphia Monday. The president told the crowd the thrust of his plan to put tighter regulations on the insurance industry.
    (Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/loufcd/ / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

    [audio:100308kgobama.mp3]

    The president’s plan would require that health insurers accept customers with pre-existing conditions, keep members when they get sick, and not raise premiums at will. Sharon Ward, from the Pennsylvania Health Access Network, says the speech was right on target for Pennsylvania.

    Ward: He talked about the need to reign in insurance company abuses. And that’s particularly important in this state where we have very lax consumer protections against insurance companies.

    Insurance companies agree with some elements of the president’s plan – in particular, some agree that it would expand access to insurance and health care. But how much the plan will cost is a point of contention, among insurers, members of Congress, and the protestors who lined the entrance of Arcadia University today.

    The president told the supportive audience that Congress needs to act now – and not wait on pending legislation to overhaul the health insurance system. Gilande Dieudonne, a nurse from Wyncote, agrees with the president.

    Dieudonne: I think it’s time as he stated in his speech earlier. It’s really time because, I have my sister, for instance, that she’s a single mother and it’s really really hard and every year you wonder, what’s going to be next and how you’re going to pay it.

    Students in the audience applauded one provision in the plan that would allow dependents up to the age of 26 to remain on their parents’ health insurance. Casey Brehm was among them.

    Brehm:
    Personally that is something that’s really important to me because I am under my mother’s insurance. That’s something that’s very important. And the fact that jobs don’t really offer insurance or it’s very expensive.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.