Obama defends health care reform in Austin
POSTED: Wednesday, July 18, 2012 - 4:00am
UPDATED: Wednesday, July 18, 2012 - 4:14am
Austin — During his third fundraiser of the day Tuesday evening, President Barack Obama defended his top domestic policy achievement and pushed back against one of the most popular attack lines coming from his Republican opponents.
"We are not rolling back health care reform," Obama said. "The Supreme Court has spoken. We are moving forward."
While the recent court decision ruling that the Affordable Care Act is constitutional was largely seen as a win for Democrats, it also delivered Republicans a brand new talking point. The Supreme Court had labeled the penalty on those choosing not to purchase health insurance as a tax, countering what the Obama administration had been arguing since the law was passed.
"If you've got health care, the only thing that now happens to you -- you're not paying a tax -- the only think that's happening to you is that you have more security because insurance companies can't jerk you around," Obama said, directly addressing Republicans who have already begun to use language from the Supreme Court's decision to attack him.
Under his law, young people can stay on their parents' insurance longer, seniors will pay less for prescription drugs and everyone will be given free preventive care, the president told the crowd of more than a thousand people crowded into the Austin Music Hall.
"If you don't have health care than we're going to help you get it," he continued. "And the only people who may have a problem with this law are folks who can afford health care but aren't buying it, waiting until they get sick and then going to the emergency room and expecting everybody else to pick up the tab. That's not responsibility. That's not consistent with who we are."
The supportive crowd -- each of whom paid at least $250 dollars to hear the president speak and see country music singer Jerry Jeff Walker perform -- cheered the president on in his defense of health care reform. They also applauded his decision to weigh in on an ongoing legal battle between Planned Parenthood and the state of Texas.
"Insurance companies can't charge women more than men now," Obama said. "Which reminds me, we're not -- we're not ending funding for Planned Parenthood. I think women should have control of their own health care choices, just like men. We're not going backwards."
Like many conservative states, Texas has tried to block funding for Planned Parenthood clinics because the organization provides abortions. In return, Planned Parenthood sued the state, winning an injunction against the law by arguing that abortion is constitutional and Texas' efforts would block women's access to preventive health care.
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