(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.