As expected, when President Obama stood in front of the SHMOTUS and the Most Powerful woman in the world last night to deliver his heath care speech, it was laden with lies and half truths. What wasn’t expected was the venom toward his opponents included in his some of his remarks, here are a few highlights:
…. There are now more than thirty million American citizens who cannot get coverage.
WOOOH! Wait a second! What happened to 47 Million? Up until the speech he had always said there were 47 million. Mr. President I demand to know what you did with those other 17 million uninsured people.
OK, he did nothing to those people, the president simply reduced the number to make it look as if he was no longer including illegal aliens.
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But the problem that plagues the health care system is not just a problem of the uninsured. Those who do have insurance have never had less security and stability than they do today. More and more Americans worry that if you move, lose your job, or change your job, you’ll lose your health insurance too. More and more Americans pay their premiums, only to discover that their insurance company has dropped their coverage when they get sick, or won’t pay the full cost of care. It happens every day.
Every study released over the past few weeks has shown that people are more frightened by Obamacare than anything mentioned above.
Finally, our health care system is placing an unsustainable burden on taxpayers. When health care costs grow at the rate they have, it puts greater pressure on programs like Medicare and Medicaid. If we do nothing to slow these skyrocketing costs, we will eventually be spending more on Medicare and Medicaid than every other government program combined. Put simply, our health care problem is our deficit problem. Nothing else even comes close.
And just imagine what will happen to the deficit should Obamacare get passed.
These are the facts. Nobody disputes them. We know we must reform this system. The question is how.
The President begins to get partisan by bashing partisanship:
….But what we have also seen in these last months is the same partisan spectacle that only hardens the disdain many Americans have toward their own government. Instead of honest debate, we have seen scare tactics. Some have dug into unyielding ideological camps that offer no hope of compromise. Too many have used this as an opportunity to score short-term political points, even if it robs the country of our opportunity to solve a long-term challenge. And out of this blizzard of charges and counter-charges, confusion has reigned.
Well the time for bickering is over. The time for games has passed. Now is the season for action. Now is when we must bring the best ideas of both parties together, and show the American people that we can still do what we were sent here to do. Now is the time to deliver on health care.
So let me understand this. Is the President claiming that anybody who disagrees with him is playing games and bickering? Next he gets into some lies/misstatements:
….Here are the details that every American needs to know about this plan:
First, if you are among the hundreds of millions of Americans who already have health insurance through your job, Medicare, Medicaid, or the VA, nothing in this plan will require you or your employer to change the coverage or the doctor you have. Let me repeat this: nothing in our plan requires you to change what you have.
Funny thing is, before this the POTUS would say, You will not have to change what you have, as opposed to there is nothing in the plan that will make you change. Perhaps this is an acknowledgment of what most people have already figured out, the government wont force you to change plans your employer will. The CBO says as many of 70 Million people will be forced into the Government Option.
…..Now, even if we provide these affordable options, there may be those – particularly the young and healthy – who still want to take the risk and go without coverage. There may still be companies that refuse to do right by their workers. The problem is, such irresponsible behavior costs all the rest of us money. If there are affordable options and people still don’t sign up for health insurance, it means we pay for those people’s expensive emergency room visits. If some businesses don’t provide workers health care, it forces the rest of us to pick up the tab when their workers get sick, and gives those businesses an unfair advantage over their competitors. And unless everybody does their part, many of the insurance reforms we seek – especially requiring insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions – just can’t be achieved.
That’s why under my plan, individuals will be required to carry basic health insurance – just as most states require you to carry auto insurance. Likewise, businesses will be required to either offer their workers health care, or chip in to help cover the cost of their workers. There will be a hardship waiver for those individuals who still cannot afford coverage, and 95% of all small businesses, because of their size and narrow profit margin, would be exempt from these requirements. But we cannot have large businesses and individuals who can afford coverage game the system by avoiding responsibility to themselves or their employees. Improving our health care system only works if everybody does their part.
The Auto Insurance analogy is rather silly. People are force to pick up liablity insurance, protecting the OTHER guy. I would think that this provision could face a legal challenge on constitutional grounds.
While there remain some significant details to be ironed out, I believe a broad consensus exists for the aspects of the plan I just outlined: consumer protections for those with insurance, an exchange that allows individuals and small businesses to purchase affordable coverage, and a requirement that people who can afford insurance get insurance.
Significant details to be worked out? Sounds a little like those Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgages that got the economy into trouble. “Hi I wold like to buy a new home.” “How do you intend to pay for it?” ” I don’t Know” “OK, here are the keys, your mortage docutments and an autographed picture of Barney Frank.”
Now comes the partisanship, from the man who promised to bring the country together, as he calls the people who disagree with him….liars. He continues to ignore basic economics, to afford his health care plan, care will have to be rationed. In fact there has never been a government controlled plan anywhere in the world that did not ration health care.
Some of people’s concerns have grown out of bogus claims spread by those whose only agenda is to kill reform at any cost. The best example is the claim, made not just by radio and cable talk show hosts, but prominent politicians, that we plan to set up panels of bureaucrats with the power to kill off senior citizens. Such a charge would be laughable if it weren’t so cynical and irresponsible. It is a lie, plain and simple.
Well Mr. President, how are you going to ration health care? Which you will have to do?
There are also those who claim that our reform effort will insure illegal immigrants. This, too, is false – the reforms I’m proposing would not apply to those who are here illegally.
The house bill does say that. But at the same time there is no enforcement provision in the bill so illegals can enjoy as much as they want.
And one more misunderstanding I want to clear up – under our plan, no federal dollars will be used to fund abortions, and federal conscience laws will remain in place.
The House bill (HR 3200) mandates that government-run insurance exchanges where people would buy insurance with government subsidies include at least one plan that covers abortion. Also, committees in both the House and Senate rejected amendment that would have explicitly forbid federal money from going to pay for abortion under the plan. In the past the supreme court has ruled that when the govenrment does not specifically mention that abortions are banned in a bill, they will be allowed.
On March 9, 2009, the Obama Administration proposed to rescind a Bush Administration regulation protecting the conscience rights of health care professionals such as doctors, nurses, and medical students. This regulation implemented longstanding federal conscience protection laws, some of which have been on the books since the 1970s. These laws prohibit discrimination against health care providers who object to participating in abortion, sterilization, or other controversial medical procedures.
My health care proposal has also been attacked by some who oppose reform as a “government takeover” of the entire health care system. As proof, critics point to a provision in our plan that allows the uninsured and small businesses to choose a publicly-sponsored insurance option, administered by the government just like Medicaid or Medicare.
So let me set the record straight. My guiding principle is, and always has been, that consumers do better when there is choice and competition. Unfortunately, in 34 states, 75% of the insurance market is controlled by five or fewer companies. In Alabama, almost 90% is controlled by just one company. Without competition, the price of insurance goes up and the quality goes down. And it makes it easier for insurance companies to treat their customers badly – by cherry-picking the healthiest individuals and trying to drop the sickest; by overcharging small businesses who have no leverage; and by jacking up rates.
And that is why the government took over the Auto Business, the banking industry and is working on taking over the energy business. Based on track record shows what else could it be besides a takover of the health industry.
For the next part of his speech “Simon Says” take one Giant Step backwards, but first he gives us one giant fib:
It’s worth noting that a strong majority of Americans still favor a public insurance option of the sort I’ve proposed tonight.
Obviously the POTUS has been too busy to read a poll lately. Then the giant step backward, he backs away from the government option while once again bashing his political opposition:
But its impact shouldn’t be exaggerated – by the left, the right, or the media. It is only one part of my plan, and should not be used as a handy excuse for the usual Washington ideological battles. To my progressive friends, I would remind you that for decades, the driving idea behind reform has been to end insurance company abuses and make coverage affordable for those without it. The public option is only a means to that end – and we should remain open to other ideas that accomplish our ultimate goal. And to my Republican friends, I say that rather than making wild claims about a government takeover of health care, we should work together to address any legitimate concerns you may have.
For example, some have suggested that that the public option go into effect only in those markets where insurance companies are not providing affordable policies. Others propose a co-op or another non-profit entity to administer the plan. These are all constructive ideas worth exploring. 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. And I will make sure that no government bureaucrat or insurance company bureaucrat gets between you and the care that you need.
Keep in mind if all the President wanted to create competition he could adopt the Republican proposal of allowing insurance companies to compete across state lines. That would create a crowd of competitors and keep the government off your back.
Finally, let me discuss an issue that is a great concern to me, to members of this chamber, and to the public – and that is how we pay for this plan.
Here’s what you need to know. First, I will not sign a plan that adds one dime to our deficits – either now or in the future. Period. And to prove that I’m serious, there will be a provision in this plan that requires us to come forward with more spending cuts if the savings we promised don’t materialize. Part of the reason I faced a trillion dollar deficit when I walked in the door of the White House is because too many initiatives over the last decade were not paid for – from the Iraq War to tax breaks for the wealthy. I will not make that same mistake with health care.
This is just patently false, despite what the SHMOTUS claims, you cannot save money by spending money. Secondly he faced a $600 billion dollar deficit, his omnibus and porkulus plans grew the deficit to a trillion dollars. His claim about the Iraq war is just too disgusting for me to discuss.
Second, we’ve estimated that most of this plan can be paid for by finding savings within the existing health care system – a system that is currently full of waste and abuse. Right now, too much of the hard-earned savings and tax dollars we spend on health care doesn’t make us healthier. That’s not my judgment – it’s the judgment of medical professionals across this country. And this is also true when it comes to Medicare and Medicaid.
The CBO analyzed this possibility and reported that the savings generated would be about 2 billion of the 900 billion dollar plan.
In fact, I want to speak directly to America’s seniors for a moment, because Medicare is another issue that’s been subjected to demagoguery and distortion during the course of this debate.
More than four decades ago, this nation stood up for the principle that after a lifetime of hard work, our seniors should not be left to struggle with a pile of medical bills in their later years. That is how Medicare was born. And it remains a sacred trust that must be passed down from one generation to the next. That is why not a dollar of the Medicare trust fund will be used to pay for this plan.
BUT WAIT, The plan calls for major cuts in Medicare to pay for the plan. Obama and congressional Democrats want to pay for their health care plans in part by reducing Medicare payments to providers by more than $500 billion over 10 years. The cuts would largely hit hospitals and Medicare Advantage, the part of the Medicare program operated through private insurance companies.
The only thing this plan would eliminate is the hundreds of billions of dollars in waste and fraud, as well as unwarranted subsidies in Medicare that go to insurance companies – subsidies that do everything to pad their profits and nothing to improve your care. And we will also create an independent commission of doctors and medical experts charged with identifying more waste in the years ahead.
Now I get it….See no death panels, a independent commission of doctors and medical experts will decide which procedures not to cover. No one is going to pull the plug on grandma, grandma isn’t going to get plugged in at all.
These steps will ensure that you – America’s seniors – get the benefits you’ve been promised. They will ensure that Medicare is there for future generations. And we can use some of the savings to fill the gap in coverage that forces too many seniors to pay thousands of dollars a year out of their own pocket for prescription drugs. That’s what this plan will do for you. So don’t pay attention to those scary stories about how your benefits will be cut – especially since some of the same folks who are spreading these tall tales have fought against Medicare in the past, and just this year supported a budget that would have essentially turned Medicare into a privatized voucher program. That will never happen on my watch. I will protect Medicare.
Reducing the waste and inefficiency in Medicare and Medicaid will pay for most of this plan [despite what the CBO says]. Much of the rest would be paid for with revenues from the very same drug and insurance companies that stand to benefit from tens of millions of new customers. This reform will charge insurance companies a fee for their most expensive policies, which will encourage them to provide greater value for the money – an idea which has the support of Democratic and Republican experts. And according to these same experts, this modest change could help hold down the cost of health care for all of us in the long-run.
Anybody for some lip service to tort reform? Only two months after the President took tort reform off the table (because of his strong ties to the legal industry) he tepidly includes tort reform.
Finally, many in this chamber – particularly on the Republican side of the aisle – have long insisted that reforming our medical malpractice laws can help bring down the cost of health care. I don’t believe malpractice reform is a silver bullet, but I have talked to enough doctors to know that defensive medicine may be contributing to unnecessary costs. So I am proposing that we move forward on a range of ideas about how to put patient safety first and let doctors focus on practicing medicine. I know that the Bush Administration considered authorizing demonstration projects in individual states to test these issues. It’s a good idea, and I am directing my Secretary of Health and Human Services to move forward on this initiative today.
…Add it all up, and the plan I’m proposing will cost around $900 billion over ten years – less than we have spent on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and less than the tax cuts for the wealthiest few Americans that Congress passed at the beginning of the previous administration. Most of these costs will be paid for with money already being spent – but spent badly – in the existing health care system. The plan will not add to our deficit. The middle-class will realize greater security, not higher taxes. And if we are able to slow the growth of health care costs by just one-tenth of one percent each year, it will actually reduce the deficit by $4 trillion over the long term.
Not according to the CBO. The Congressional Budget Office reports that the House bill would add $220 billion to the deficit over 10 years. But Democrats and Obama administration officials still claim the bill actually was deficit-neutral. The White House says the CBO simply didn’t have to count $245 billion of it the cost of adjusting Medicare reimbursement rates so physicians don’t face big annual pay cuts.
Now the president makes some threats:
But know this: I will not waste time with those who have made the calculation that it’s better politics to kill this plan than improve it. I will not stand by while the special interests use the same old tactics to keep things exactly the way they are. If you misrepresent what’s in the plan, we will call you out. And I will not accept the status quo as a solution. Not this time. Not now.
At the beginning of the speech the President accused his opposition of using fear tactics. But here Obama does.
Everyone in this room knows what will happen if we do nothing. Our deficit will grow. More families will go bankrupt. More businesses will close. More Americans will lose their coverage when they are sick and need it most. And more will die as a result. We know these things to be true.
The President is not trying to scare people..What he means is nothing more than Old Testament, real wrath of God type stuff. Fire and brimstone coming down from the skies! Rivers and seas boiling! Forty years of darkness! Earthquakes, volcanoes… The dead rising from the grave! Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together… mass hysteria!
Please get out your tissues now its time to make the appeal to Kill grandma for Teddy:
I received one of those letters a few days ago. It was from our beloved friend and colleague, Ted Kennedy. He had written it back in May, shortly after he was told that his illness was terminal. He asked that it be delivered upon his death.
In it, he spoke about what a happy time his last months were, thanks to the love and support of family and friends, his wife, Vicki, and his children, who are here tonight . And he expressed confidence that this would be the year that health care reform – “that great unfinished business of our society,” he called it – would finally pass. He repeated the truth that health care is decisive for our future prosperity, but he also reminded me that “it concerns more than material things.” “What we face,” he wrote, “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.”
I’ve thought about that phrase quite a bit in recent days – the character of our country. One of the unique and wonderful things about America has always been our self-reliance, our rugged individualism, our fierce defense of freedom and our healthy skepticism of government. And figuring out the appropriate size and role of government has always been a source of rigorous and sometimes angry debate.
But you didn’t think about when Teddy’s older brother JFK, cut income taxes way back and jobs growth skyrocketed.
For some of Ted Kennedy’s critics, his brand of liberalism represented an affront to American liberty. In their mind, his passion for universal health care was nothing more than a passion for big government.
But those of us who knew Teddy and worked with him here – people of both parties – know that what drove him was something more. His friend, Orrin Hatch, knows that. They worked together to provide children with health insurance. His friend John McCain knows that. They worked together on a Patient’s Bill of Rights. His friend Chuck Grassley knows that. They worked together to provide health care to children with disabilities.
I am sure that the late senator was a good guy, unless you take into account that he once betrayed his country, during the Reagan administration he tried to work with the USSR to undermine US foreign policy.
On issues like these, Ted Kennedy’s passion was born not of some rigid ideology, but of his own experience. It was the experience of having two children stricken with cancer. He never forgot the sheer terror and helplessness that any parent feels when a child is badly sick; and he was able to imagine what it must be like for those without insurance; what it would be like to have to say to a wife or a child or an aging parent – there is something that could make you better, but I just can’t afford it.
Overall the President’s speech was a bit more of the same old, same old. I would suspect that his numbers will tick up a bit for a few days, and then return to normal. Democrats will say that the President’s speech was the best thing ever, Republicans will feel the opposite. In the end, the future of the Obamacare effort may rest on how the independent voters react to his speech last night.
Prof. Asher J. Matathias Has a take on the speech much different than mine, please give it a read and leave a comment telling us what YOU think:
President Obama Rallies Congress and the Nation
POTUS (President of the United States) took the unusual and rare step to address a joint session of Congress, not a State of the Union, to underline the gravity of the crisis facing our society in neglecting to address 1/6 of the American economy that needs immediate fixing, health care! In the process, he delivered some vital statistics and compelling truths. The reaction of an increasingly diminished GOP, my Party, centered in the South and speaking in hateful tongues, to greet President Obama with disdain, scorn, and from one Congressman, Joe Wilson (R-SC), unmitigated disrespect, hurling the insulting shout “you lie” to our Chief Executive.
This unfolding drama took place even as news is released that there are more than 46 million Americans uninsured in this blessed land of incredible wealth, but lagging far behind from the safety nets that are in place and familiar in all progressive Western nations.
Time and again the President stressed that the proposed bill will not cover illegal aliens, yet the drumbeat of the un-reconciled continued in the faux news broadcasts on the Fox cable channel, and the unreconstructed minds of such notorious demagogues as Glenn Beck, Lou Dobbs, Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly (whose birthday is today); all are decidedly lesser lights who promote a scorch-earth-policy in wanting to bury the Administration’s initiative without offering a credible alternative!
Under HR 3200, no one will lose health coverage for having been terminated at the job; nor will a catastrophic illness bring pecuniary; and benefits will not be capped annually or for a lifetime. To be sure, the spectacle of this summer’s town hall meetings, with the President abdicating the fight to let the debate fruitlessly drag on, had the perverse effect of making his supporters confused about the reform, seizing the default position of keeping the status quo, however detrimental that is, prompting a decline in his polls. The President’s former ambiguity and deference to the lawmakers in Congress is now replaced with welcome energetic determination to sign a final product by Thanksgiving.
In their periods, both Social Security and, later, Medicare had their detractors who claimed that enactment of the measures would surely usher Socialism or worse, Communism. In truth, German Chancellor Otto van Bismarck in the 1880’s was a pioneer in social security — with FDR able to get an American version in 1936 — while the other measure was passed in 1965 by LBJ, as homage to its chief proponent, the martyred President John F. Kennedy. By coincidental irony, the late, third longest-serving US Senator Edward M. Kennedy, and the President’s youngest brother, may become the hook by which some reluctant Republicans may yet be moved to endorse the epoch-making bill now under consideration!
The much-contentious public option feature will affect a fraction of the effected population, perhaps 12 million, and some of them may still choose a private insurance carrier. The point is crystal clear: no Government bureaucrat will be doing the choosing, nor will any officer ration care, or administer the non-existent “death panels;” lies that are routinely and intentionally heard in the diatribes of the plan’s narrowest political opponents, and mendacious media pundits.
If Obama’s critics are so in favor of competition and choice, why not permit the unfettered free enterprise that this enhanced element of a public option will inject? Further, if they are so eager to have only the oligarchic insurance companies operate freely and without oversight — especially since they are beyond Federal supervision if they exist intrastate — will they favor the dismantling of Medicare and Social Security, as well? I dare them to voice such plans!
The proposed law will bring economies of scale, while savings accrue from stricter enforcement, expected competition, and the long-term adjustment in our economy from the unproductive policies of the second Bush Administration, including the retrograde tax policies favoring the very wealthy, to the new age of green jobs, restructured manufacturing, and reform of our educational apparatus.
Passage of HR 3200 will do more than that: it will affirm America’s character as a compassionate, caring, fair society; we shall feel better about ourselves, Republicans, Democrats, and Independents; and we will put to rest the canard uttered by former President Reagan that government is not the solution, it is the problem. The Gipper was wrong then, as he was repeatedly in his eight years in the White House; Government is the galvanizing force of our citizenry; it is reflective of our will, and we, periodically rise to the occasion to write heroic historic pages! Now is such a time, let us meet to the challenge with verve, and help make this bill the landmark law it is destined to become! More than 50 applause lines readily indicate that the President has turned the proverbial corner toward well-deserved legislative success and national relief.