Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Obama health care speech to Congress: Instead of honest debate, we have seen scare tactics


“I am not the first President to take up this cause, but I am determined to be the last.” Wow, he’s gonna solve this forever. Or screw it up so badly that no one will ever dare it touch it again. You know, whichever.

And now for the horror stories: “Another woman from Texas was about to get a double mastectomy when her insurance company canceled her policy because she forgot to declare a case of acne. By the time she had her insurance reinstated, her breast cancer more than doubled in size.” But what about the acne? Oh, and did she, you know, die? Obama really does not know how to tell a story.

“our health care problem is our deficit problem.”

“There are those on the left who believe that the only way to fix the system is through a single-payer system like Canada’s, where we would severely restrict the private insurance market and have the government provide coverage for everyone. On the right, there are those who argue that we should end the employer-based system and leave individuals to buy health insurance on their own.” And there are some who dismiss others’ views as “left” or “right” positions driven by ideology.

“But either one would represent a radical shift that would disrupt the health care most people currently have. ... I believe it makes more sense to build on what works and fix what doesn’t.” Is going to single-payer really that “radical” a shift? We’re not talking about demolishing all the existing hospitals and building new ones or importing all new doctors from Cuba, just changing how health care is paid for.

Note: at this point I’ve stopped the DVR. If he’s just gonna read the prepared remarks off the teleprompter, I don’t need to hear him to it. (Although I evidently missed Rep. Joe Wilson shout “You lie.”)(That’s what YouTube is for.)

“Instead of honest debate, we have seen scare tactics. ... Well the time for bickering is over. The time for games has passed. Now is the season for action.” Right here, I can see how the Republican tactics have paid off. By his own words, Obama admits that we never had an honest debate: we had the scare tactics, bickering and games, and now he wants us to go straight to action. Can we really skip that step? Doesn’t it feels like representative democracy has failed, even knowing that it’s been sabotaged by one party’s unwillingness to participate? Or does Democrats fighting each other make up for it?

Oh good, he has three basic goals: More security and stability for those with insurance. Provide insurance to those without it. Slow the growth in costs (I guess costs will continue to increase forever, just more slowly).

No more caps, recisions, rejection for pre-existing conditions, a limit on out-of-pocket expenses. Er, aren’t those the ways insurance companies make huge profits?

So instead of single payer, or a public option, we get... an “exchange.” Plus mandatory insurance in a for-profit system.

“95% of all small businesses, because of their size and narrow profit margin, would be exempt from these requirements.” I hereby predict the next Republican meme: this will just discourage small businesses from growing.

“Insurance executives don’t do this [cherry-picking the healthy and dropping the sick] because they are bad people. They do it because it’s profitable.” Really? Let’s take a vote.

He does mention a public option, but “it would only be an option for those who don’t have insurance.” He insists that at most 5% of Americans would wind up on it, and he “reminds” “my progressive friends” that the public option is only a “means to [the] end” of ending insurance company abuses and keeping insurance affordable. And of course he’s willing to drop it. Co-ops, triggers, it’s all good to him. “But I will not back down on the basic principle that if Americans can’t find affordable coverage, we will provide you with a choice.” So he won’t back down on a basic principle so vague that you can’t definitively state when he has actually backed down on it.

“Demonstration projects” for malpractice tort reform, whatever that means. I doubt we’ll ever hear another word about this.

What is this woman laughing about?

“I will not waste time with those who have made the calculation that it’s better politics to kill this plan than improve it. ... If you misrepresent what’s in the plan, we will call you out.” That should scare them into submission.

RHOMBOID? “We did not come to fear the future. We came here to shape it.”

He quoted a letter Ted Kennedy wrote him. Kennedy said, “What we face is above all a moral issue; at stake are not just the details of policy, but fundamental principles of social justice and the character of our country.” Obama should have made this point himself, if indeed he believes it, but at least it got said.

Obama cures scrofula.

No comments:

Post a Comment