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Obama Rallies Students on Health Care

University of Maryland speech ramps up the pressure on Congress.

By Alain Jehlen

President Barack Obama today stepped up his drive to push his high-stakes health care plan through Congress with an address to 15,000 waving and shouting supporters at the University of Maryland in College Park.

“Now is the time for action!” Obama said, as cheers reverberated through the cavernous Comcast Center.

"The United States is the only country that leaves millions of its citizens without health insurance, he said. “In America, no one should go broke because they get sick.”

Under his plan, he promised, those who have health insurance will have more security and stability. And the millions who are unable to get insurance will at last be able to obtain coverage.

Obama said the “public option” that he and most Congressional Democrats are proposing will provide competition for private insurance, but no one will be forced by the government into the public plan.

The loudest roar of the rally greeted his promise that under his plan, students will be able to stay on their parents’ health insurance until age 26.

And the President pointed out that “some of the people who are most enthusiastic about health care reform are the very medical professionals who have first-hand knowledge about how badly the system needs to change… the doctors and the nurses.”

Obama told about people failed by their health insurance companies, which tried to avoid their responsibilities by using “pre-existing conditions” and other excuses not pay medicals bills.

“These stories are heart-breaking. Nobody in America should be treated this way.”

Obama was introduced by Rachel Peck, a 20-year-old junior who was diagnosed with thyroid cancer earlier this year.

“Less than two years from now, when I graduate from this school,” Peck told the crowd, “I will no longer be covered under my parents' health insurance plan. What will happen to me then?”


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