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Obama’s Speech

September 10, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

Let’s chat about Obama’s speech.

We all seem to agree that no one should have their health insurance taken away from them or at least that’s what Obama thinks. Obama gave the example of one person who had gall stones that they didn’t reportto their health insurer because they didn’t know about and then they were denied further health care which eventually lead to that person’s death.

Who knew that healthcare represents 1/6 of our economy? I wonder what the other 5/6 are?

Obama said that “the time for bickering is over and the time for games has passed.” Hmm, I wonder if that will have an impact.

There are 3 goals under this plan: 1) more security and stability to those who have health insurance, 2) will provide for those who don’t have health insurance, and I missed 3) Damn.

The system only works if everyone does their part.

…the details…1) Those who have health care through their job or medicare or medicaid or the VA – nothing changes, except that it will work better; you cannot be denied because of a pre-existing condition, cannot be dropped by your insurance company, no arbitrary cap on given year or over a lifetime, limit on how much you can be charged for out of pocket expenses, and insurance companies will be responsible for covering routine tests like mammograms, etc., which amounts to security and stability. 2) Quality affordable choices – if you lose or change your job you can get coverage, if you start a small business you can get coverage by shopping for insurance through an exchange, consumers can bargain for better prices, which is the same way that congress gets their insurance and if you can’t afford it, then you get tax credits depending on your need, you will get low-cost coverage if you get seriously ill. It will take effect in 4 years. 3) Those who want to go without coverage, or those companies who want to go without covering their employees effect the rest of the population. We pay the tab for those people. Everyone has to do their part. Individuals will be required to carry health insurance, just as most states require you to carry auto insurance. And, there will be an hardship waiver for those who still can’t afford it. Large companies will not be able to game the system.

Then Obama addressed key controversies: There have been bogus claims made to kill reform at any cost. For example, panels to kill senior citizens: Cynical and irresponsible. It’s a lie, plain and simple. And, on illegal immigrants – it will not apply to those who are here illegally. Finally, no federal dollars will be used to fund abortions.

And on the idea that this is a Government takeover of the entire health care system, that’s not the goal. The goal is to hold insurance companies accountable – not put them out of business. For example, in states such as Alabama where there is essentially one insurance company. It can cherry pick. Obama’s plan includes a not-for-profit insurance company in the insurance exchange only as an option for those who don’t have insurance. Less than 5% of Americans would sign up. This company would have to be self-sufficient and therefore could compete fairly with private insurance companies. It would be similar to public colleges and universities.

On the public option: if Americans can’t find affordable coverage, they will be provided with a choice. Obama refuses to back down from that. He said that no government bureaucrat or insurance bureaucrat will get between you and the insurance coverage you need.

How do we pay for the plan? He will not sign a plan that adds one dime to our deficit either now or in the future. And there will be a provision in place that requires spending cuts if promised savings don’t materialize.

Seniors: After a life-time of hard work seniors should not have to struggle to pay medical bills. It’s a sacred trust. Not a dollar of the medicare trust fund will be used to pay for this plan. Reducing waste and inefficiency in medicare will pay for this plan. It will eliminate subsidies to corporations that pad profits but do nothing for seniors. It will be made more efficient. He mentioned some places that offer high quality care at cost below average, there is a lot to be learned from these places. Greater value for money.

Obama cleverly talked about medical malpractice for the republicans by saying that defensive medicine may be contributing to costs. He wants patient safety put first, and to let doctors practice medicine.

It will cost $900 billion over 10 yrs. This is less than tax cuts put in place in previous administration and less than the cost of the Iraq and Afghanistan war. Most of the costs will be paid for by money being spent right now but being spent badly.

Then, Obama very seriously stated that if people (looking directly at the republicans here) misrepresent what is in this plan, they will be called out. Obama has an open door policy for those who have serious proposals and he is open to talking about these proposals. The problem is, most republicans insist that he has not been open.

It comes down to this: What is the character of our country? Ted Kennedy posed this question to Obama in a letter delivered post-mortem to Obama. This question is reminiscent of the discussion last night at Town Hall, where T.R. Reid asked: What is our moral value, as a nation, regarding health care? Do we believe that everyone should be covered or not? What is the character of this country?

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