Last night we watched President Obama’s speech to Congress.
We think that the president would get an A+ were he in Public Speaking class. But this speech needs to be backed up by action for the Nabobs to believe what he said–whatever it was that he was saying exactly. The sooner the president learns to talk in sound bites, the sooner we’ll be more informed about this and other issues without having to do research.
What we did like about the speech was that the President effectively took back control of the health care debate. The distinction between the (watered-down quasi-liberal) Democratic President and the ugliness of those who are in opposition to reform could not have been starker last night.
The president was elegant and poised while his opponents were fat, sweaty and loud. They looked crazy and impulsive while the president was reasoned.
Barack Obama was dignified and poised while he spoke about reforming our failing health care system. The opposition leader, John Boehner, was sweaty and conniving.
We noticed that the House Minority Leader from Ohio held his applause for most of the speech save for when Obama mentioned Tort Reform (the first time we’ve heard him mention the Republican Red Meat issue, and very smart concession for the president to make).
The numbers and figures involving malpractice and the lawsuits that result are notoriously difficult to pin down, though. But our sources tell us that around 4% of medical procedures are botched, and of those 4% of cases, the patients rarely sue. So if the Republicans fixate on reforming malpractice lawsuits they may see Tort Reform as a large concession from the Democrats, they don’t mind giving it up all that much.
But the contradiction remains: the president has announced that health care reform must necessarily not negatively affect the private insurance industry. That is to say, the President assured us that the heath insurance industry–the industry the president decried earlier in his speech as causing us economic ruin and that is badly broken and in need of reform, that is gouging us, making us a laughing stock of the industrialized world and which is completely inadequate–won’t be harmed in his reform plan.
That may be great for insurance executives and politicians who accept legal bribe money (campaign donations) from the insurance companies, but it’s not great for the United States. That’s because WE SPEND A WHOLE HELL OF A LOT MORE MONEY PER PERSON ON HELATH CARE THAN ANY OTHER COUNTRY ON EARTH, YET WE ARE RANKED LAST IN HEALTH CARE PERFORMANCE AMONG FIRST WORLD COUNTRIES AND 37th OVERALL.
“If you like your plan, you can keep it” has been a phrase that the president has repeated many times. But in general, if we liked our insurance plan, than a majority of people wouldn’t support reform; but we DO support reform.