Health Care Reform 2.0

In an emotional town hall in suburban Annandale, VA today, President Obama spoke with Americans who shared their nightmarish experiences with the existing health insurance industry.

In pledging his commitment to health care reform, Obama spoke favorably of the so-called public option, a government-sponsored health care plan that would operate in competition with private insurance.  Recent polls show an overwhelming number of Americans favor the public option when considering health care reform.

Public forums like the one the president held today have given Americans a high-profile way to air their troubles – and have distinguished Obama as a great “Listener In Chief.”
But at the risk of overplaying the dreaded empathy card, Obama is doing even more to highlight Americans’ agonizingly real problems with the cost, availability and quality of their health care.

The folks at Organizing for America, Obama’s grassroots political organizing arm,  have compiled an archive of personal stories from regular Americans who share their health care horrors.  Organized by city (there are a number of Albuquerque ones),  the archive chronicles real problems from real people, in their own voices. It’s a great outlet for people who want to talk about why our health care system is screaming for reform –  and a handy resource for those who still need convincing.

Check it out.

Live From Rio Rancho….

Health care costs are on everyone’s mind, including some of the 2,300 or so New Mexicans who crowded into the Rio Rancho High School gym yesterday for President Barack Obama’s townhall meeting on credit card company abuse.

The first query right off the bat was about healthcare, and Obama ably converted the townhall into a forum about why he believes significant health care reform must be achieved by Labor Day.

“Medicaid and Medicare costs are the single biggest driver to deficits and national debt, as well as Social Security, defense and interest on the national debt,” he told the Rio Rancho crowd. “These are the lion’s share of the national budget. Most of what’s driving us into debt is health care.”

In today’s Wall Street Journal, Obama’s Office of Budget and Management director Peter Orszag writes more about why Obama believes health care reform is key to American’s fiscal future – and why it needs to be done now.

Go and read it. You’ll be glad you did.

No. 44

It’s quite a lineup. Add another one to the list of No. 44s. Henry Aaron, Willie McCovey and now President Barack Obama.

Obama speaks with New Mexico tribal leaders

Obama made a surprise visit to the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque last Thursday, September 18th. This was before his scheduled appearance in Española, where an estimated 10,000 people attended. I was able to get down to the IPCC and talk with folks at the event and snap some shots of Obama supporters.


Obama supporters line up on 12th Street

Obama spent the morning speaking with tribal leaders from New Mexico, answering their questions and laying out his positions on tribal sovereignty, land and water issues, tribal jurisdiction and creating healthy communities for Native Americans.

Many of the folks I spoke with like, Charlie Dorame from Tesuque Pueblo, stated that they were encouraged by Obama’s visit and the time he has made to speak with Native Americans. Governor Salazar of Ohkay Owingeh said he felt like Obama spoke from the heart and that he understood Native issues and seemed open-minded to learning more.

Over the next week I will be posting video interviews that focus on Native Americans in New Mexico and their perspective on this important election year. Stay tuned.

DNC: Obama’s Speech

DENVER – History streamed into Denver’s Invesco Field last night in all shapes, sizes and colors. Nearly 84,000 people stood in line for hours to witness something many in this country thought they might never see – a Black man accept the nomination for the presidency of the United States.

But they also came to hear, finally, a call for leadership for a country weary of war and angry at economic and social imbalances that the current administration refuses to acknowledge, much less address.

And in his historic speech, Barack Obama did not disappoint.
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