Health care has definitely been in the news lately.  It has definitely been THE most controversial item in the news.  And it has certainly been a hot topic with my fellow “Facebookers” in the last few days as well.

As a booklover, I found a very interesting item related to our President, Barack Obama, and a speech he gave in Iowa City, Iowa on Thursday (March 25, 2010), in which he referred to an area book store in a speech he was making on health care and the recently passed bill.  Following the speech, he actually went to the referenced book store and did some browsing and more.

The item I read was found in the Friday March 26, 2010 edition of “Shelf Awareness”.  The “Shelf Awareness” articles states, “In a speech on health care delivered in Iowa City, Iowa, yesterday, President Obama cited ‘your own Prairie Lights bookstore downtown’ as an example of a small business that will benefit from the new law.  An hour later he visited the store and bought several books, endearing himself yet again to many book people”.

According to the article, in his speech, quoted by the New York Times, “the president said Prairie Light has been ‘offering coverage to their full-time employees for the last 20 years.  Last year their premiums went up 35%, which made it a lot harder for them to offer the same coverage’.”  With the new law, the President stated that the store owners will qualify for a tax credit that will cover up to 35% of the health insurance costs.  Read the entire speech in the New York Times article.

Following the speech, President Obama made a visit to Prairie Lights Books.  At the store he browsed, and purchased books for his daughters and one for the son of press secretary Robert Gibbs.  Excellent articles about the shopping trip are found in the Cedar Rapids Gazette and “a pool report quoted by the New York Times“.   Thanks to “Shelf Awareness” for their article about the speech and book store visit.

I found the article in “Shelf Awareness” and the referenced newspaper stories very interesting.  I agree with many people that the health care bill is not perfect.  But I do not believe we will ever be able to get a perfect health care bill.  This is a great start and I commend President Obama for the hard work he has done to get the bill passed.  I have found so many interesting comments from my “Facebook” friends both for and against the health care bill and comments that were, of course, very strong about the politicians who have been involved in the process of developing the bill.

In one post, raging against the health care bill, a friend wrote a comment basically saying that since President Obama smokes cigarettes, a definitely unhealthy habit, that he does not have a right to sign health care legislation.  While I respect my friend’s opinion, I would like to add my thoughts.  First, President Obama has what is probably the highest pressure job in the world.  OK, he smokes some.  He admits it is a problem and has tried many times to quit.  Give the man a break.  I certainly can’t criticize him for that.  He DOES exercise with regularity, a very healthy thing, and I almost never exercise!  Another thought on the comment about smoking.  The “Facebook” friend who made that comment lives (along with myself) in South Carolina.  Our state has the LOWEST cigarette tax in the nation.  Our legislators refuse to raise that tax.  While I don’t advocate raising taxes as frequently as it done, there is absolutely no reason why South Carolina’s lawmakers should not immediately raise the cigarette tax.  Our state’s budget is desperate for more revenue,  the state’s education budget is on the verge of being cut drastically, and yet the legislators won’t raise the cigarette tax?  Let us get our priorities straight.  If people do want to smoke, then let them pay a price.  Maybe a higher tax would cause some people to stop smoking.  That is definitely a HEALTHY thing to do!

I strayed some from my usual books topic.  I am so glad that President Obama visited an independently owned bookstore.  He helped support a small business. He purchased books for his kids.  He is making a positive impact by many of his efforts.

I hope that all the tension between Democrats and Republicans will die down some now and that the focus of both parties will be to work on other ways to better our country. 

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