Thursday, September 10, 2009

Three Responses to the Obamacare Speech

Eighteen hours after President Obama spoke before a joint session of Congress about the urgent need to secure his legacy fix the American health care system, he must be flummoxed to find that most of the attention has been diverted away from what he said. I have found three statements so far that sum up the response to the speech, at least for me. Excerpts only are shown, except for the first one.

1. Joe Wilson (R-SC), whose statement is shown in its entirety and which you've probably already heard 418 times by now:
You lie!
That comment, regardless of its validity, was stated in the wrong context. Rep. Wilson should have gone out and held a news conference to call President Obama a liar, as pretty much every Democrat in Congress did with regard to President Bush.

But was President Obama lying in his statement about illegal immigration which unintentionally solicited Rep. Wilson's outburst? More on that in this next response.

2. Kathleen McKinley, aka Rightwingsparkle:
I didn't hear anything different from the last 28 speeches he has given on health care. He said the same things that have been disputed as well.


He denies that abortion and illegal immigrants will be covered in the bill, and yet every wording that has been submitted by Republicans that specifically requires those things not be covered , in writing, has been rejected and thrown out by the Democrats. They know that if it isn't specifically rejected in the bill, it will be covered. It will fall under some other provision. It's their dirty little secret. Why else reject the language?

He says "nothing in our plan requires you to change what you have." Notice the nuance there. No, of course nothing "requires" it, but if your employer chooses the public option, then you have no choice but to change. The stone cold truth is that the Congressional Budget Office analyzed the health care bill written by House Democrats and reported that by 2016 some 3 million people who now have employer-based care would lose it because their employers would decide to stop offering it.

Ms. McKinley does a nice job of pointing out what could at best be described as half-truths presented by President Obama. She goes on to make other salient points that aren't covered here because I want you to go read her blog.

3. Sarah Palin:
After all the rhetoric is put aside, one principle ran through President Obama’s speech tonight: that increased government involvement in health care can solve its problems.


Our objections to the Democrats’ health care proposals are not mere “bickering” or “games.” They are not an attempt to “score short term political points.” And it’s hard to listen to the President lecture us not to use “scare tactics” when in the next breath he says that “more will die” if his proposals do not pass.

In his speech the President directly responded to concerns I’ve raised about unelected bureaucrats being given power to make decisions affecting life or death health care matters. He called these concerns “bogus,” “irresponsible,” and “a lie” -- so much for civility. After all the name-calling, though, what he did not do is respond to the arguments we’ve made, arguments even some of his own supporters have agreed have merit.

In fact, after promising to “make sure that no government bureaucrat .... gets between you and the health care you need,” the President repeated his call for an Independent Medicare Advisory Council -- an unelected, largely unaccountable group of bureaucrats charged with containing Medicare costs. He did not disavow his own statement that such a group, working outside of “normal political channels,” should guide decisions regarding that “huge driver of cost ... the chronically ill and those toward the end of their lives....” He did not disavow the statements of his health care advisor, Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, and continuing to pay his salary with taxpayer dollars proves a commitment to his beliefs. The President can keep making unsupported assertions, but until he directly responds to the arguments I’ve made, I’m going to call him out too.
When it comes to the so-called "death panels", many people, including myself, had not done our homework when it came to the context of the House health care bill (HR 3200, Sec. 1233), but Sarah Palin certainly had.

And none of these excerpts cover the other main objection I have to a lot of these large spending bills, which is, of course, that we have to pay for it somehow. Kathleen McKinley sums that concern up:
He said that he will not sign a bill that will add a dime to the deficit. I don't think there is a reasonable person out there that believes that. The Congressional Budget Office said that the bill the House Democrats have offered would add $220 billion to the deficit over ten years.
And as for the response to these types of responses to the opposition? Again, Kathleen nails it:
Pres. Obama also said " I still believe we can replace acrimony with civility." He might also send that memo to the Democrat leaders who call ordinary Americans who oppose the public option "evil mongers," compared them to "Nazis," and call them "an angry mob."

One need only look at the people who troll the comment section for pretty much every Sarah Palin post on Facebook to see that this memo is needed, not just for the Democratic leaders, but for all of us--the sooner, the better.