President to GOP: Focus on Helping the Middle Class, Not Playing Political Games

Washington, DC – Here is a statement from Ethan Rome, executive director of Health Care for America Now, on the State of the Union address delivered tonight by President Obama: 

“In his State of the Union address tonight, President Obama challenged the Republicans to step up and join the fight to create jobs. The president offered concrete proposals to grow the economy by growing the middle class. His speech was about making a real difference in people’s lives, about giving every person in America a fair shot at achieving health and economic security.

“When it comes to the across-the-board cuts that would wreak havoc on our economy and people’s lives, the president delivered a simple message to the GOP: Knock it off and be part of the solution, not the problem.

“President Obama called on the GOP to stop playing political games with the budget and to stand up for the middle class. He made clear that we can’t cut our way to prosperity. We need revenue, not gimmicks. A balanced approach to the deficit begins with making corporations pay their fair share in taxes. We have to eliminate corporate loopholes and tax breaks that hurt our economy, like the one that rewards corporations with $150 billion a year for shipping jobs overseas. We should also put a check on the Wall Street traders who crashed our economy by applying a transaction tax that would help to slow high-frequency securities trading. This tax of only three pennies for every $100 in transactions would raise approximately $352 billion over the next 10 years.

“The President is right about the need to slow the growth of health care costs, and he’s right to identify savings such as reducing taxpayer subsidies to prescription drug companies. But we cannot make any cuts that hurt Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, or compromise implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Health security is central to the economic security of America’s middle class. These bedrock health care programs, along with Social Security, are essential to ensuring that everyone in this country has a fair shot at achieving the American Dream.”

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Health Care for America Now, the nation’s leading grassroots health care coalition, led the fight to win health reform. HCAN works to promote the Affordable Care Act, protect Medicare and Medicaid, and keep Congress from being steamrolled by corporate special interests.