Democrats Tout Healthcare Reform on First Night of National Convention

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On Tuesday this week, Democrats spent much of the opening night of the Democratic National Convention promoting the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), which became law in March 2010 and was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court against Republican-led opposition in June 2012.

2012 Democratic National Convention Michelle Obama

Healthcare was the star Tuesday night in Charlotte, North Carolina as speakers praised the battles fought by President Barak Obama on behalf of minority rights and the middle class. Several Democrats also took the opportunity to criticize the healthcare plans proposed by the GOP candidate Mitt Romeny and his running mate Paul Ryan.

In his keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention, San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro defended President Obama’s success in expanding healthcare and cast Mitt Romney as a candidate of ‘no’ [1]:

Seven presidents before him — Democrats and Republicans — tried to expand health care to all Americans. President Obama got it done.

The Romney-Ryan budget doesn’t just cut public education, cut Medicare, cut transportation and cut job training.

It doesn’t just pummel the middle class — it dismantles it. It dismantles what generations before have built to ensure that everybody can enter and stay in the middle class. When it comes to getting the middle class back to work, Mitt Romney says, “No.” When it comes to respecting women’s rights, Mitt Romney says, “No.” When it comes to letting people marry whomever they love, Mitt Romney says, “No.” When it comes to expanding access to good health care, Mitt Romney says, “No.”

First Lady Promotes Healthcare Overhaul

First lady Michelle Obama excited delegates when she talked about the president’s values, painting a picture of a leader who knows first hand the struggles of everyday Americans and who pushes an agenda with their interests in mind. She promoted the healthcare overhaul, citing some of the reasons why President Obama enacted the Affordable Care Act [2]:

When it comes to the health of our families, Barack refused to listen to all those folks who told him to leave health reform for another day, another president.

He didn’t care whether it was the easy thing to do politically — that’s not how he was raised — he cared that it was the right thing to do.

He did it because he believes that here in America, our grandparents should be able to afford their medicine…our kids should be able to see a doctor when they’re sick…and no one in this country should ever go broke because of an accident or illness.

And he believes that women are more than capable of making our own choices about our bodies and our health care…that’s what my husband stands for.

HHS Secretary Highlights Obamacare’s Provisions

Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius appropriated the GOP’s much used term of contempt for the president’s healthcare plan — Obamacare — to tout some of its popular provisions [3]:

[F]or us Democrats, Obamacare is a badge of honor. Because no matter who you are, what stage of life you’re in, this law is a good thing. First, if you already have insurance you like, you can keep it. Insurance companies can no longer refuse to cover Americans with pre-existing conditions. That’s what change looks like.

More than five million seniors have already saved money on their prescription drugs, and almost 33 million have benefited from free preventive services. The president cracked down hard on Medicare and health care fraud, recovering a record-breaking $10.7 billion over the last three years, protecting our seniors. That’s what change looks like.

The law gives tax credits to 360,000 small businesses so they can give their employees coverage and an array of affordable, private insurance plans to choose from. That’s what change looks like.

If you’re self-employed, between jobs, or can’t get insurance through work, you’ll have access to affordable health insurance as good as Congressman Paul Ryan’s. That’s what change looks like.

If you’re under 26, you can stay on your parents’ plan. You can go back to school or get extra training without fear of a health catastrophe bankrupting your family. Over three million previously uninsured young adults are now on their parents’ plans. That’s what change looks like.

And under Obamacare, insurance companies can no longer discriminate against women. Before, some wouldn’t cover women’s most basic needs, like contraception and maternity care, but would still charge us up to 50 percent more than men—for a worse plan. They said women who had C-sections or survived breast cancer or even domestic violence had “pre-existing conditions” and would deny them coverage. But this president made it illegal to discriminate against women and ended the practice of insurance companies charging women higher premiums than men for the same coverage. This president ensured women’s free access to preventive services like breast cancer screenings. Being a mother is no longer a liability, and being a woman is no longer a pre-existing condition! That’s what change looks like.

Today, nearly 13 million Americans are experiencing something remarkable: Instead of sending checks to their insurance companies, insurance companies are sending checks to them—over a billion dollars this year alone. Because if insurers don’t spend at least 80 percent of your premium dollars on your health care, you get a refund. That’s what change looks like.

Sebelius went on to discuss how President Obama’s views differ from Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan. You can watch her speech at the Democratic National Convention below:

Read more about what the healthcare law ruling means to you.


  1. Transcript: Julian Castro’s DNC Keynote Address. NPR. 2012 Sept 4.
  2. Transcript: Michelle Obama’s Convention Speech. NPR. 2012 Sept 4
  3. Kathleen Sebelius DNC speech (text, video). Politico. 2012 Sept 4.
About the Author

Walter Jessen, Ph.D. is a Data Scientist, Digital Biologist, and Knowledge Engineer. His primary focus is to build and support expert systems, including AI (artificial intelligence) and user-generated platforms, and to identify and develop methods to capture, organize, integrate, and make accessible company knowledge. His research interests include disease biology modeling and biomarker identification. He is also a Principal at Highlight Health Media, which publishes Highlight HEALTH, and lead writer at Highlight HEALTH.