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By Jessica Zigmond and Rich Daly

Blog: Obama outlines 'middle-class bargain,' plans for second term

By Jessica Zigmond

Affordable health insurance is part of the “middle-class bargain” that President Barack Obama is promising all Americans if he's elected to another term on Nov. 6.

That message was included in The New Economic Patriotism: A Plan for Jobs & Middle-Class Security (PDF), a 20-page booklet of second-term plans that the president's campaign released Tuesday along with a new video ad. Pledging to build an “economy from the middle class out,” the agenda offers the president's objectives for American manufacturing, small business, education, healthcare, retirement security and the deficit. Not surprisingly, the section on healthcare touts the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and how the administration would ensure the controversial law's continued implementation in a second term.

“It is up to you whether we go back to a healthcare system that lets insurance companies decide who to cover, when to cover it, whether they can drop you from your coverage whenever you need it most, or whether we keep moving forward with a law that is already cutting costs and covering more people and saving lives,” the president says in it.

The plan lists a host of provisions already in effect under the law, such as the benefit for young adult Americans to stay on their parents' health plans until they are 26; the medical loss ratio that requires most health plans to spend at least 80 cents of every premium dollar on medical care; and a provision to prevent insurance companies from denying coverage to children with pre-existing conditions. It also highlights the benefits yet to come in 2014, such as a provision to ensure all Americans can buy health insurance coverage and not be denied for a pre-existing condition, additional tax cuts for small businesses to coverage premiums, and, of course, the health insurance exchanges.

With a little more than two weeks left in this campaign, the two candidates are in a close race, with the website Real Clear Politics giving the former governor a slight edge, based on an average of several polls. How much of a role do you think healthcare will play when voters take to the polls next month? Let me know: jzigmond@modernhealthcare.com.

You can follow Jessica on Twitter @MHJZigmond.

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