Barack Obama, who won the race for the White House based in part on a message of health reform, was sworn in as the nations 44th president today in Washington.
Hundreds of thousands of people have spent most of the morning jockeying for green space on the National Mall, where space is tightand security is even tighter. Commuters coming into the city packed trains and other modes of public transportation to navigate downtown Washington in order to glimpse the swearing-in ceremony. Obama gave his inauguration address around 12 p.m. ET.
We will restore science to its rightful place and wield technologys wonders to raise healthcares quality and lower its costs, Obama said during his first speech as president.
Reform advocates have largely fallen in line with Obamas call for a health system overhaul, based on the use of electronic health records, new and expanded government programs, and payment reform. Indeed, one of the first pieces of legislation the new president is expected to sign is a bill that renews and expands a popular federal-state childrens health insurance program.
Congress is also expected to send to Obama a giant economic stimulus package, which presently holds about $100 billion in healthcare funding, the lions share going to a boost in the federal governments share of Medicaid but with several billion more going to help spur the adoption of health information technology.