Video: Courtesy of the White House
January 20, 2013, was the official beginning of President Barack Obama’s second term. However, one would never know it after witnessing all of the pomp and circumstance of yesterday’s 57th inauguration activities or the headiness and glamour of the evening’s inaugural balls. Still, it was quite glorious, and the President is to be sincerely congratulated for all of his hard work and the outstanding accomplishment of winning a second term.
A Running Start
Today, after a prayer service at the National Cathedral, the President hit the ground running. (1) It was a day of work, as usual, and a day of settling back into West Wing routines. This leads me to reflect upon the accomplishments of both the President and the First Lady with regard to health care in the first term of the presidency and to look forward to what might lie ahead.
The Inaugural Address Offers Hints of Second Term Health Care Possibilities
In a piece entitled, “Obama Highlights Health Issues in Inaugural Speech,” MedPage Today outlined the possibilities for health care in President Obama’s second term. A highlight was the importance of preserving entitlement programs such as Medicare and Medicaid despite Republican-led efforts to raise the Medicare eligibility age to 67 and convert Medicaid into a block-grant program. Physicians also offered their opinions regarding the President’s best approach to addressing health care concerns in the second term. Prioritization of resolving the sustainable growth rate formula for Medicare physician reimbursements was key, along with expedited delivery system reforms. The inaugural address also alluded to the problem of gun violence and the importance of placing an increased focus on addressing mental health. (2)
What is Next for Health Reform in 2013?
As for health care reform, this will be a year in which several additional parts of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) will go into effect. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, the following provisions of Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) will go into effect in 2013:
1. Funding to state Medicaid programs that choose to cover preventive services for patients at little or no cost
2. Payment bundling for physician and health care services instead of separate submissions of payments to Medicare
3. Medicaid payment rate equivalency of 100% of those of primary care Medicare payments
4. Two additional years of funding under the Child Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for children who are not eligible for Medicaid
Preparations will also continue for establishing enrollment in Health Insurance Exchange Marketplaces, which will begin operating in 2014. (3)
What Is the Outlook for President Obama and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) in His Second Term?
By Jeffrey Young
Excerpt via the Huffington Post: “In his first term, President Barack Obama made history. Now he has to make good. In 2010, Obama bested Theodore Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton by pushing through Congress a big health care reform law — a sweeping measure that aims to extend coverage to at least 30 million of the country’s 49 million uninsured. The Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare — the president now says he likes the term — since then has withstood relentless attacks from congressional Republicans, conservative governors, GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney and even the Supreme Court…..”
Mrs. Obama made great strides in health care with her “Let’s Move” campaign, which attracted multitudes of followers. (4) Countless lives were transformed by the adoption of healthy eating and regular exercise. Now what? Will the First Lady continue work on her “Let’s Move” campaign, or will she pursue a new direction? Perhaps she will do both. This remains to be seen.
Video: Courtesy of the White House
Yesterday, the Huffington Post highlighted some of the Obama’s lifestyle change tips:
Excerpt via the Huffington Post: “Today, President Barack Obama will celebrate being sworn in for his second term, bringing about four more years of — among many, many things — healthy habits at the White House. Obama and First Lady Michelle are two of the greatest healthy lifestyle advocates Washington D.C. has ever known and they do so by modeling good behavior at home. We’ve compiled some of the best lessons we can learn from the First Couple. So on Inauguration Day, get your health on with some inspiring examples. And if you’re looking to try a few of these at home, the First Lady’s health behavior initiative, Let’s Move provides tracking tools, tips and tricks to help……”
A couple of possibilities for FLOTUS (First Lady of the United States) initiatives include increased emphases on smoking cessation and childhood obesity. Smoking cessation is an issue that strikes close to home for the President and his family, as Mrs. Obama has supported President Obama through his own difficult path to smoking cessation. (5, 6) Perhaps this is good, as the first family’s saga with this issue might serve as a source of encouragement for those who are seeking success with smoking cessation.
Regardless of her choice, I am sure she will do quite beautifully.
1. Boorstein, Michelle. “Obama, Biden Attend Inaugural Prayer Service at Washington National Cathedral.” Washington Post. January 22, 2013. http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/obama-biden-to-attend-inaugural-prayer-service-at-cathedral-on-tuesday/2013/01/22/9223bad8-64a0-11e2-b84d-21c7b65985ee_story.html. Retrieved January 22, 2013.
2. Pittman, David (Washington Correspondent) and Frieden, Joyce (News Editor). “Obama Highlights Health Issues in Inaugural Speech.” MedPage Today. January 21, 2013. http://www.medpagetoday.com/Washington-Watch/Reform/36941. Retrieved January 22, 2013.
3. “Healthcare.gov: Take Health Care into Your Own Hands.” Healthcare.gov Website. Department of Health and Human Services. http://www.healthcare.gov/law/timeline/full.html. Retrieved January 21, 2013.
4. “Let’s Move.” The White House: Let’s Move Website. http://www.letsmove.gov/. Retrieved January 21, 2013.
5. Jackson, David. “Obama: ‘Quitting Smoking Is Hard.” USA Today Website. November 17, 2011. http://content.usatoday.com/communities/theoval/post/2011/11/obama-quitting-smoking-is-hard/1. Retrieved January 22, 2013.
6. “Did President Obama Chew Nicorette Gum During 2013 Inauguration Events?” International Business Times. January 21, 2013. http://www.ibtimes.com/did-president-obama-chew-nicorette-gum-during-2013-inauguration-events-1029088. Retrieved January 22, 2013.