I thought I would try something different tonight. I wanted to catch Obama's speech on Health Care because I have a vested interest, what with being a newbie old fart, on what happens to Health Care over the next decade. In an attempt to understand his stand better I wrote a running commentary as the speech unfolded. Impressions, interpretations, and how I saw it in a nutshell. The result was interesting. To me anyway.
So Obama Man just walked in. I could hear the Sargent at Arms announcing his arrival in the background of the NPR commentary trying to keep us placated because the Prez is running late. Apparently Obama will spell out his views on what we should do with Health Care. He will one more time try to bridge the differences and sift out the rhetoric that means nothing and only causes emotions to get fired up.
Over what is obviously loud and boisterous applause, Obama - several times, "Thank You...clap clap clap......thank you......clap hoot holler...." Pelosi in charge starts pounding the podium with that massive mallet. She introduces the President. More applause. He begins.
He starts in with an overview of what he talked about the last time. How he won't give up until all Americans who have lost their jobs have found new employment. He won't give up until all who lost their homes have moved into new ones. He goes on saying through all our efforts we have indeed pulled our collective asses away from the brink. But there is more work to do. He is setting a grand tone.
I left for a moment. Parched, needed a drink of water.
Seems Obama is now jumping right in on the Health Care issue. Several examples of egregious and poor treatment at the hands of an indifferent Health Care Insurance Industry. Care denied for arbitrary and specious reasons. Costs have more than tripled in some period of recent memory. In other words, he tells us what almost all of us already knew. The system we have now sucks.
He proposes not to build from scratch, but work with the system we have and make it better. Now he begins to stroke Congressional egos by telling them how pleased he is with their efforts. On both sides. But we are only 80% there and that partisanship has been utilized to hamstring the efforts. Scare tactics using blatant untruths. He utters the word "Lies" and "Liars" I think. (That's gonna piss off some folks and ruffle feathers) He calls for action. The games are over. He calls on the Leadership to "deliver on Health Care".
His plan with substantial gaps because I ain't no stenographer.
~Nothing in our plan requires those who have insurance already to change providers. What it will do is clean up some of the rules.
~No pre-existing condition refusals
~No arbitrary caps on amounts of money
~Insurance policies will be required to cover pre-emptive measures - Mammograms, Physicals, blood work, etc.
~Instilling a plan that will include every American not covered to go to a new insurance market place and buy insurance as part of a bigger pool of people. Will make rates more competitive and cheaper.
~Interim Catastrophic Plan - The same plan McCain proposed back during the election
~Require some kind of "basic Insurance" for all Americans who can afford at least the basic coverage. We all need to work together.
Obama says he has no interest in putting the insurance companies out of business. He wants to hold them accountable. He is of the opinion that consumers do best when there is competition. Fair competition. The way it is set up now is not fair and often exploits the insured.
Calls both the Right and the Left out to stop the partisan crap. To the Left - Don't overstate the impact of the plan. To the Right - Stop the fear mongering of government takeover.
Paying the freight - Won't sign any bill that increases the deficit. Must be deficit neutral. Will cost about 900 billion dollars over the next ten years. Cheaper than the War in Iraq. Cheaper than the Tax cuts to the rich.
He feels that much of the cost can be born by making the system we have work more efficiently. Too much waste. Too much inefficiency. Not one dollar of the Medicare plan will be used to pay for this. Then he outlines some the measures his plan will utilize to protect and even enhance the coverage Seniors have and will have in the future.
Another water break.....I'm back ......clapping - guess I did not miss much.
He lays down the gauntlet. Lets everyone know that he is serious and will call out anyone who uses unfounded claims to misrepresent the plan he laid out. Killing the idea of Health care reform is not an option. Settling on the "status quo" again was not an option.
Then it gets mushy as Obama begins a tribute to Ted. Ted was not being ideological or partisan with his focus on Health Care. He just cared. Then a brief history of Social Security. 1935 - fears of Socialism were unfounded as Social Security came into existence. The stupid fear that this country will ever be socialist. That over the years, our leaders have ultimately understood that too much government is no better than too little government. A balance must be found and so far we seem to find it. Eventually.
And finally a rah, rah rah closing moment as he performs a "I still believe" and "We Can" moment - that we can still act when it is hard. We can bury the acrimony. We can do the right thing. See ya and thanks for your time.
Charles Boustany - Republican Hack Response
Republicans are pleased Obama came to Congress. The Republicans are ready to find ways to make Health Care more affordable. Republicans understand Americans want reform. Then it is onto their standard bullshit about it being nothing but Government Health Care. Faults Obama for not taking it off the table. What a maroon. Just because it is on the table does not mean it "has" to be part of the solution. Obama said as much.
Then ole Chuck starts beating the favorite Republican straw dog, er man - Tort Reform and how without it, the cost of Health Care will remain high. Standard crap from the Right. But somewhat muted because Obama was so very clear about the what, where, and how his plan would really work. Why has the party of my youth become such a cast of clowns?
I give Obama a B+ or maybe even an A- for this speech. I would give him an A but well, he was a tad kinder than I would have been to the boneheads in Congress. I'm way more disgusted I guess with the lot of them than he is. But President Obama spoke strongly, clearly and he did strike a line in the sand to a degree. And not just one between himself and the Republicans, but one between himself and Congress. He continues to do the job I envisioned he would. I just hope to see his success rate pick up some in the near future.
I am not sure why I even did this. I have to say though, writing my impressions and my take as I thought them was quite...... well shit, it was cool to do this. I have re-read the previous narration and decided that after some spelling corrections and straightening of a few (okay, more than a few) awkward phrases and such, I will let it go to post.
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