Senior Citizens Hear Encouraging Words
on Entitlements in President's Second Inaugural
'The commitments we make to each other through
Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security, these things do not sap our
initiative, they strengthen us' - see video
Video of segment of President Barack Obama's
inaugural address on the need to reduce health costs, but also
defended the importance of Medicare, Medicaid and Social
Jan. 22, 2013 –
President Barack Obama generally drew praise from senior
citizen advocates for the words in his inaugural address
yesterday that signaled his commitment to preserve the
“entitlement programs” of Medicare, Medicaid and Social
Politico’s reporter Carrie Budoff
Brown noted that the
President did not reiterate the words used in his first
inauguration that we must make “hard decisions” to preserve
AARP political blog said of the speech, “President
Barack Obama made a forceful case for Social Security,
Medicare and Medicaid in his second inaugural address
Monday, surrounded by members of Congress who have clashed
on what role those programs should play in solving the
nation’s budget problems.”
The AARP blog did note that the
President used the term “hard choices” in speaking about
reducing the cost of healthcare and the size of the deficit.
He then noted, “But we reject the belief that America must
choose between caring for the generation that built this
country and investing in the generation that will build its
future. For we remember the lessons of our past, when
twilight years were spent in poverty and parents of a child
with a disability had nowhere to turn.”
Speaking specifically about the
entitlement programs, Obama said, “The commitments we make
to each other through Medicare and Medicaid and Social
Security, these things do not sap our initiative, they
strengthen us,” he said. “They do not make us a nation of
takers; they free us to take the risks that make this
Following are reports
from other media sources as gathered by Kaiser Health News.
The Wall Street Journal:
Obama Vows Aggressive Agenda
With specifics not usually offered in inaugural addresses,
Mr. Obama promised to preserve government health-care
programs, expand rights for women and gay couples, and press
for gun controls, overhauls of the tax code and immigration
laws, as well as climate-change measures (Lee, 1/21).
The Associated Press:
Obama Stands His Ground On Fiscal Debates But it was the paragraph that followed in his inaugural
address that foreshadowed what's to come — more hard
bargaining and more last-minute deals driven by Obama's own
conviction that he now wields an upper hand. "We must make
the hard choices to reduce the cost of health care and the
size of our deficit. But we reject the belief that America
must choose between caring for the generation that built
this country and investing in the generation that will build
its future," he said. "The commitments we make to each other
— through Medicare, and Medicaid, and Social Security —
these things do not sap our initiative; they strengthen us.
They do not make us a nation of takers; they free us to take
the risks that make this country great." This was the
language of his re-election campaign (Kuhnhenn, 1/22).
The New York Times:
Obama Offers Liberal Vision: 'We Must Act' On a day that echoed with refrains from the civil rights era
and tributes to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Mr.
Obama dispensed with the post-partisan appeals of four years
ago to lay out a forceful vision of advancing gay rights,
showing more tolerance toward illegal immigrants, preserving
the social welfare safety net and acting to stop climate
change (Baker, 1/21).
Los Angeles Times: In
Obama's Inaugural Speech, A Sweeping Liberal Vision But Obama made clear he views government as essential to fix
the nation's problems and to guarantee the security of its
citizens, reaffirming Democratic ideology stretching from
the days of Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal. "Medicare and
Medicaid and Social Security, these things do not sap our
initiative," he said. "They do not make us a nation of
takers. They free us to take the risks that make this
country great." The remarks were an allusion to one of the
fiercest arguments of the presidential campaign — when
Republican nominee Mitt Romney described 47% of Americans,
Obama supporters, as overly reliant on government — as well
as to attacks on entitlement programs during recent budget
battles in Congress (West and Parsons, 1/21).
Obama's Second Term: Return Of The Liberal President Barack Obama's second inaugural address was the
most liberal speech he has delivered as president — a blunt
summons to wage war on poverty, defend entitlements for the
middle class, end "perpetual war" overseas and move past the
calibrated progressive agenda of his first term. … In a
challenge to the GOP, Obama mentioned the country's $16.4
trillion debt load once and then, only to announce his
stalwart opposition to slashing Medicare, Medicaid and
Social Security (Thrush, 1/21).
Dodges 'Hard Choices' On Entitlements President Barack Obama insisted four years ago that the
nation must make "hard decisions" to preserve entitlement
programs. But on Monday, the "hard choices" he spoke of on
health care and the deficit came with a major caveat: He's
not willing to give up much (Budoff Brown, 1/22).
Obama Sees 'Hard Choices' On Health Costs
President Barack Obama used his second inaugural address to
underline his promise to reduce federal healthcare costs
without cutting benefits. In an address light on healthcare
references, he never mentioned his signature healthcare law,
which launches its major provisions next year. Obama's
speech echoed campaign trail comments that while changes are
needed to keep Medicare and Medicaid solvent, they should
not impact beneficiaries. … In the run-up to another round
of discussions on changes to the federal entitlement
programs, Obama framed the federal healthcare programs in
the sharp terms of a divisive election that turned in part
on Republicans' proposed changes to the federal entitlement
programs (Daly, 1/21).
Medpage Today: Obama
Highlights Health Issues In Inauguration
Health care received a couple of direct mentions from
President Obama in his inauguration speech Monday, but he
stood up for entitlement programs amid ongoing calls for
changes. ... Obama seemed to reference changes for the
programs that some say would only shift costs or add burdens
to beneficiaries. For example, Republicans in Congress have
called for transforming Medicaid into a block grant program
or raising the Medicare eligibility age to 67. Rep. Jim
McDermott, MD (D-Wash.), told MedPage Today Monday the
president was trying in his speech to inspire hope we can
come together to accomplish the nation's goals- including
providing healthcare for those who need it (Pittman, 1/21).
From the Republican
Sen. Mitch McConnell Says Medicare, Social Security Must
Change To Fix U.S. Debt
The nation's debt is its biggest problem, and the only way
to fix it is to make changes in entitlement programs such as
Social Security and Medicare, U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell said
Friday. McConnell, speaking to several hundred people during
Commerce Lexington's Public Policy Luncheon at the Hyatt
Regency, said those changes should include raising
eligibility ages over time. "Only one thing can save this
country, and that's to get a handle on this deficit and debt
issue," said McConnell, the Senate minority leader. "No
action means the demise" of entitlement programs, he said.
"We have to assure they will be there for future
generations" (Brammer, 1/21).
Most media reports
are part of
Kaiser Health News' Daily Report - a summary of health
policy coverage from more than 300 news organizations. The
full summary of the day's news can be found
here and you can sign up for e-mail subscriptions to the
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