(NEW YORK) July 16, 2009 - Will African Americans find themselves in worse shape following health care reform?¬† That’s what I asked President Barack Obama during a reporters’ roundtable on Air Force One this afternoon.
I asked because the “single-payer” option isn’t on the table during the reform negotiations now underway in Congress.¬†
“We have a tradition of employer-based health care plans – we hope to provide a level of subsidy guaranteed to keep costs down,” he told me.¬†¬†Keeping¬†down cost¬†will be a challange because without a single-payer option, like the federal progam¬†Medicare, those seeking insurance will have to buy what they can afford.¬† Medicare insures everyone¬†and¬†covers up to 80 percent of the cost for¬†at¬†a very affordable rate for seniors and the disable.¬†¬†¬†
Obama defended the¬†bill in its early stages¬†in¬†Congress, saying¬†he wants to see a government option offered ¬†”side-by-side” the¬†private insurers.¬† The government option would be “looking over the shoulder” of private insurers to make sure they do the right thing, he said.¬†¬†¬†
The trip on Air Force One was less than an hour, the interview with the president about 20 minutes.¬† I was¬†joined by my colleagues from Ebony, Urban Radio Network, Black Enterprise, The Amsterdam News, TV One and Essence Magazine.
We were seated in the guest area of the plane rather than the¬†traditional press area, and were able to pepper the flight crew¬†with¬†off-the-record questions about¬† The White House with wings.
After landing in New York we all made our way to the NAACP convention hotel to cover the¬†presidents¬†speech.