With President Obama set to address a joint session of Congress about health care tomorrow evening, a St. Louis businessman makes his case for why health care reform is needed.
President Obama will try to take back the momentum from opponents of his health care legislation in his prime-time address to Congress. Opposition set in as soon as Congress began its August break. Opponents dominated health care forums, blasting proposals before Congress. Obama will try to wrest back control tomorrow in a prime-time speech.
Indications from the White House are that the president will be more specific than he has been in the past. Initially, Obama has remained open to many ideas. White House press secretary Robert Gibbs told ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday that people will have a clear understanding of where the president stands after the Wednesday speech.
Eric Friedman, owner of the Friedman Realtors Group of St. Louis , hopes Obama is successful, both in regaining momentum on the issue and in pushing reform through Congress. Friedman calls health care reform a critical issue for small business owners. He points out that 26% of the 1.3 million members of the members of the National Association of Realtors don’t carry health insurance.
“It because of the cost,” says Friedman. “They just don’t believe they can afford it.”
Friedman says a small business like his often pays 18% more for the same coverage a large firm does.
“So, we need to lower the cost of health care in the country,” Friedman says, “So that we have a more sustainable system so it’s not strangling the economy of our country.”
America’s health care system, according to Friedman, isn’t sustainable. He says it has become a drag on the economy.
“This is a big issue. It’s not just about health care. That’s the focus, but it’s about the sustainability of our economy and our economy is not sustainable with the present health care system,” Friedman says.
Friedman backs his point by noting that when executives with the automobile industry met with President Bush, they complained about health care costs. He believes a public option will drive down costs and is hopeful that health care reform passes this year.