7 Quick Thoughts About Last Night’s Obama Health Care Speech

1) Wilson’s “You lie” outburst is a political plus, not a minus because the discussion over it, even from people criticizing or disagreeing with him, will focus an inordinate amount of attention on the fact that Obama is lying and that illegal aliens will be able to get coverage under the bill.

2) Obama’s insurance coverage rhetoric was the stuff of fantasyland. If insurance companies have limited rates, can’t refuse anyone, and can’t kick people off their plans for lying to them, how do they survive? That’s a description of a government program, not insurance.

3) Many people have treated this speech as if it’s a signal from Obama that the public option is optional. To the contrary, he actually spent a great deal of time making it clear that he wants the public option, whether it’s called the public option, co-ops, or whatever. That indicates a certain path the bill will have to take: the Blue Dogs will have to be rolled in the House and the Dems will have to pursue reconciliation in the Senate, because no bill with the public option in it can possibly get 60 votes.

4) Another glaring public option problem was the fact that Obama was touting it as nationwide competition for insurance companies while also saying that it wouldn’t be subsidized by the government and that “we believe that less than 5% of Americans would sign up.” Well, no government run business can compete on an even footing with private industry. It either has to be subsidized or have the rules rewritten to favor it. Furthermore, if only 5% of Americans will sign up, how is it going to provide nationwide competition to the insurance industry? Moreover, if it is going to cover so few people, why are liberals so hellbent on making sure it’s in the plan? It’s also worth noting that Obama did nothing to address the public comments made by people like Barney Frank who’ve already admitted that the public option was just another way to get to single payer.

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5) Obama spent a great deal of time talking about how he is going to cut waste out of Medicare to fund their new health care initiative. Of course, if the government were capable of doing that, Medicare wouldn’t be breaking the budget in the first place. Moreover, after what we’ve seen so far, why would anybody think that Barack Obama has the capability or even the desire to play the Tom Coburn/Jim DeMint role with Medicare? Moreover, if Barack Obama is so sure we can clawback hundreds of billions of dollars in Medicare waste, why hasn’t he already started doing it?

6) The “do it for Ted Kennedy” pitch near the end was pretty nauseating. Immediately after hearing this…

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.

…my thought was that if Ted could imagine the “sheer terror and helplessness” of being left to suffocate/drown to death in a car by a self-centered, drunken career politician who cared more about not being embarrassed than saving your life, then Mary Jo Kopechne would be alive today.

7) Obviously, judging by that speech, Barack Obama has come to the conclusion that the American people are stupid and the mainstream media will back him on anything he says. He didn’t make any kind of serious effort to address the many serious, substantial, and thoughtful criticisms of his plan that have been made. It was simply, as per usual, anybody who says anything bad about the plan is lying.

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