US President Barack Obama said Saturday his health care reform was key to ensuring growth of small businesses in the United States and their ability to create new jobs.
“Rising health care costs are undermining our businesses, exploding our deficits, and costing our nation more jobs with each passing month,” Obama said in his weekly radio address.
“So we know that reforming our health insurance system will be a critical step in rebuilding our economy so that our entrepreneurs can pursue the American Dream again, and our small businesses can grow and expand and create new jobs again,” he pointed out.
The president wants Congress to approve his health care reform proposals by the end of the year in order to fulfill one of his key campaign promises — providing health care to the 47 million Americans, some 15 percent of the population, who currently do not have any medical coverage.
Obama has been advocating for a government insurance option as a key element of his plan, but his proposals have been fiercely criticized by Republicans.
The US president also hopes to cut in half runaway healthcare expenditures which, if unchecked, are forecast to gobble up one-fifth of US gross domestic product by 2013.
But he has met increasing resistance from both Republicans and even some among his own Democratic Party worried about the costs of such a reform.
Answering Republican assertions that new health insurance-related costs will stifle small business, Obama said that under his plan small companies would not be required to cover their employees, but those that do will receive a tax credit to help them pay for it.
“If a small business chooses not to provide coverage, its employees will receive tax credits to help them purchase health insurance on their own through the insurance exchange,” he assured.
Obama added that he welcomed any sincere attempts to improve health reform legislation, but warned that he will not accept “attempts to stall.”
“I will not accept partisan efforts to block reform at any cost,” he vowed.
This video was posted to YouTube by the White House on Sept. 3, 2009.