President Barack Obama used his weekly radio address on Saturday to tout this week’s passage of his signature issue, a sweeping health care overhaul bill, along with key student loan reforms.
“Education. Health care. Two of the most important pillars of a strong America grew stronger this week,” Obama said.
The president praised Congress for passing the nearly $1 trillion health care overhaul in the face of special interest groups “that fought tooth and nail to preserve their exclusive giveaway.”
Passage of those reforms will begin to end “the worst practices of the insurance industry, rein in our exploding deficits, and, over time, finally offer millions of families and small businesses quality, affordable care — and the security and peace of mind that comes with it,” Obama said.
The president also highlighted how new student loan reforms will affect middle-class Americans: By 2014, a graduate’s annual student loan repayments will be capped at 10 percent of his or her income, he said.
Meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) came out swinging on health care reform, accusing Democrats of ignoring “the will of the people” by passing the overhaul without GOP support.
“Americans opposed this legislation, and now they’re clamoring to see it repealed and replaced,” McConnell said in the Republican’s weekly address.
The Minority Leader cited unintended consequences of the Democratic package, which he said will result in “a thicket of new rules and regulations … that we know won’t withstand their first contact with reality.”
Worse, McConnell said, is that the reforms come at a time when so many people are unemployed. He said the estimated $1 trillion cost of the health care overhaul will make it harder to create private-sector jobs.
“We can do better. We can expand access to people with pre-existing conditions. We can keep people from being kicked off their plans. We can lower costs and premiums. We can do all of these things without undermining the things we do best and without raising taxes that kill jobs in a bad economy,” he said.