Obama’s latest health-care proposals were unveiled publicly on Monday. The goals were more congruent with the Senate Bill, perhaps even more conservative. For example, Obama’s plan raised the threshold for the “Cadillac tax,” allowing individuals and families to pay more for top health-care plans before being taxed.
And to hardly anyone’s surprise, Obama did not endorse the public option. The following day on Tuesday, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs defended Obama’s plan, stating simply that there isn’t adequate “political support” for the public option. Translation: democracy isn’t important to the Administration. Even though for decades the US public has supported fundamental reform of the health care system, responses like Gibb’s have been commonplace.
After several prominent polls have shown a majority of the public supports a public health-care option to compete with private insurance plans and lower prices, President Obama’s and Gibb’s assessment conveys how little faith they have in their own abilities. Since Obama’s entrance to the presidency, little evidence exists to distinguish himself from Bush’s last term in office. In his efforts to carry out bipartisanship and support what’s “politically” possible, Obama diminishes the importance of his leadership role and ditches any meaningful, progressive change. Obama can continue to cave in and play politics, or he can stand strong and make politics.