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Patient Protection Needs Focus in Obama's Second Term

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, January 24, 2013

Obama's inaugural address did seem to provide a retort to Ryan's 2010 comments, in which the former vice presidential nominee claimed that "60% of the American people get more benefits in dollar value from the federal government than they pay back in taxes."

This came through even as President Obama signaled his commitment to rolling out the rest of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act:

"We, the people, still believe that every citizen deserves a basic measure of security and dignity. We must make the hard choices to reduce the cost of health care and the size of our deficit.

But we reject the belief that America must choose between caring for the generation that built this country and investing in the generation that will build its future.

For we remember the lessons of our past, when twilight years were spent in poverty and parents of a child with a disability had nowhere to turn. We do not believe that in this country freedom is reserved for the lucky or happiness for the few.

We recognize that no matter how responsibly we live our lives, any one of us at any time may face a job loss or a sudden illness or a home swept away in a terrible storm. The commitments we make to each other through Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security, these things do not sap our initiative.

They strengthen us. They do not make us a nation of takers. They free us to take the risks that make this country great."

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