President Obama reminded all Americans that Health Care Reform affects real people. He gave a passionate speech before a joint session of congress where he laid out a clear vision of a plan to cover all Americans. He also alerted Congress that they must act together:
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 the most. And more will die as a result. We know these things to be true.That is why we cannot fail.…We are the only democracy — the only advanced democracy on Earth — the only wealthy nation — that allows such hardship for millions of its people. There are now more than 30 million American citizens who cannot get coverage. In just a two-year period, one in every three Americans goes without health care coverage at some point. And every day, 14,000 Americans lose their coverage. In other words, it can happen to anyone.
According to a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll,
Initial public response among those who watched the speech was positive… Two out of three Americans who watched the speech said they favor Obama’s health care plans — a 14-point gain from before the speech. 67% of those polled support health care reforms outlined in the speech.
During the speech Representative Joe Wilson (R) of S. Carolina rudely and inaccurately interrupted President Obama’s speech with an angry “You lie!” when President Obama said that illegal aliens will not have their health care paid for by the government. Obviously Mr. Wilson is in some alternate universe because there is nothing in the bill that supports his inappropriate outburst.
President Obama did his best to bring together both democrats and republicans.
Section 246 of the Health Care bill is entitled: “No Federal Payments for Illegal Aliens.” Mr. Wilson must have missed that section. FackCheck.org also points out some of the purposely distorted myths circulating around the right wing blogosphere. President Obama addressed many outright lies about the bill such as the non-existent “death panels.”
Representative Charles Bustany (R) of Louisiana, defendent in numerous malpractice suits, gives Rebuttal to President Obama’s speech:
For weeks now the right wing media and political pundits have attacked President Obama and the Health Reform initiatives with angry words and degrading images. Yet, when President Obama stood up to his critics and presented a fact-based speech, Representative Charles Boustany, who gave the rebuttal to the speech continued to mislead the public with his disregard for what the President just said.
“Replacing your family’s current health care with government run healthcare is not the answer…”
This is not what President Obama said. In fact, he said the people who would be eligible for the public option are those people who do not have any health care which are about 5% of all Americans. Bustany is purposely pushing a hot button for many Americans that fear their current health care will be taken away from them. President Obama clearly stated that his plan would allow people to keep their existing health care plan from a private insurer if they desired.
Here is precisely what President Obama said about the public option issue:
Now, I have no interest in putting insurance companies out of business. They provide a legitimate service, and employ a lot of our friends and neighbors. I just want to hold them accountable. (Applause.) And the insurance reforms that I’ve already mentioned would do just that. But an additional step we can take to keep insurance companies honest is by making a not-for-profit public option available in the insurance exchange. (Applause.) Now, let me be clear. Let me be clear. It would only be an option for those who don’t have insurance. No one would be forced to choose it, and it would not impact those of you who already have insurance. In fact, based on Congressional Budget Office estimates, we believe that less than 5 percent of Americans would sign up.
Bustany continued to reiterate a talking point Republicans keep bringing up and it puzzled me as to why until I read an article in Talking Points Memo
- Republicans claim you should be able to purchase your insurance across state lines.
Would this mean de-regulation of the insurance companies?
How would this work? What are the implications for any real and necessary malpractice suits? Where would a wronged patient bring a lawsuit against an insurance company? Would they have to go out of state if that insurance company was out of state?
Deregulation is a double-edged sword. All the potential unintended consequences need to be explored. What might sound good, like deregulation of financial institutions, could have nasty repercussions, like that AIG meltdown. Wherever there are loopholes, some people like the Madoffs and AIGs of the world will unfortunately exploit them.
Proper regulation of certain industries like insurance companies, can bring long term benefits to the insured and the insurers against those people that would try to game the system.
President Obama also wants to get rid of Waste, Fraud & Abuse in the System in order to bring down costs and make the system more effective for everyone:
In his speech he stated:
And 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. (Applause.) I will not sign it if it adds one dime to the deficit, 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. (Applause.) Now, 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. (Applause.) I will not make that same mistake with health care.
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 don’t make us any 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.
What are the costs of this Health Care Reform package?
President Obama said:
Now, add it all up, and the plan I’m proposing will cost around $900 billion over 10 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. (Applause.) Now, 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 1 percent each year — one-tenth of 1 percent — it will actually reduce the deficit by $4 trillion over the long term.
The bottom line, President Obama is determined to pass a Health Care Reform Bill. He wants to do it in a bipartisan way with Republicans. He has said his door is open for anyone who wants to have a constructive conversation or present a plan. He said:
Now, this is the plan I’m proposing. It’s a plan that incorporates ideas from many of the people in this room tonight — Democrats and Republicans. And I will continue to seek common ground in the weeks ahead. If you come to me with a serious set of proposals, I will be there to listen. My door is always open.
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 to improve it. (Applause.) I won’t 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 this plan, we will call you out. (Applause.) And I will not — and I will not accept the status quo as a solution. Not this time. Not now.
President Obama ends his speech with the determination to live up to fulfilling the promise of revealing the great character of America by taking the important step forward to protect all Americans against fear of bankruptcy from health issues. He determined that now is the time to take appropriate action and “Deliver on Health Care.”
President Obama stated:
We did not come to fear the future. We came here to shape it. I still believe we can act even when it’s hard. (Applause.) I still believe — I still believe that we can act when it’s hard. I still believe we can replace acrimony with civility, and gridlock with progress. I still believe we can do great things, and that here and now we will meet history’s test. Because that’s who we are. That is our calling. That is our character. Thank you, God bless you, and may God bless the United States of America. (Applause.)
So now my Kitty Reporter readers and viewers, we as citizens of this great nation must also act. We must let our congressional representatives know that we support Health Care Reform. We must let the president know that we support his efforts to bring about positive change for all the citizens of America. We must let our own voices be heard to rise up against the din of negative tirades from media personalities and politicians who mislead the public. We too must speak up to set the record straight and usher in positive change.
Let me know your thoughts.