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Obama calls health care reform a 'moral imperative,' but he left out the morality

President Obama stood before a joint session of Congress and delivered, by most accounts, an impassioned and compelling speech. He demonstrated again that, with the right words, Barack Obama is a natural born leader. He is a man who commands attention and has the uncanny ability to move people to action.

Health care reform must happen. This is not disputed by anyone, left or right. The means to that end, however, is the cause of much strife and anger in this country. For most conservatives, any health care paid for by the government is nothing short of “socialism,” despite successful “socialist” programs like Medicare and the Veteran's Administration. For most liberals and progressives, anything short of a true public, paid-for-by-the-government, option is a dismal failure in achieving anything close to real health care reform.

And never the two shall meet.

President Obama's address to Congress, while long on poetic bluster and passion, fell far short of what most liberals and progressives would call a dramatic overhaul of a broken and unsustainable system. It seemed, in fact, a potential boon to the health insurance industry.

And the devil was in the details.

While President Obama did address much needed additions for true accountability from our nation's health insurers and the average citizen's accessibility to said insurance, such as passing laws prohibiting insurance companies from denying customers based on pre-existing conditions, dropping clients when their health care reached unacceptable monetary limits, etc., he also left the much needed proposal of a genuine “public option” for millions of uninsured or underinsured Americans at the foot of Congress and basically told them, “take it or leave it.” The president, in saying he would be very interested in hearing any and all “alternative” ideas and insisting that a public option would only be a very small part of his health care package, left the back door wide open for dropping the public option altogether.

In other words, Obama hid his desire to appeal to stubborn Republicans and so-called Blue(Cross-Blue Shield) Dog Democrats behind a smoke-screen of overblown rhetoric about the moral imperative of health care for all and the “character of our country.”

Moreover, the President's speech more than hinted at a possible mandate for all Americans to carry health insurance, much like, as he put it, a state's requirement for citizens to have auto insurance. Take this initiative, drop any government-funded public option off the table, and you've got yourself one happy health insurance industry.

So, when you get right down to the nuts-and-bolts of President Obama's health reform agenda, the inclusion of a robust public option funded by the government becomes more important than ever. Without it, what we're looking at is an already bloated, corrupt, and unsustainable health insurance industry suddenly finding themselves with millions of new customers. Customers sent gift-wrapped by the government. And with those new customers comes much more profits.

Without a public option the insurance industry will have no real competition, so where's the incentive to reform? Regulating these companies with strict laws prohibiting them from discriminatory and predatory practices sounds great, but who, exactly, would be in charge of enforcing them? The same people charged with regulating Wall Street? There would be nothing to stop a new administration, literally bursting at the seams with health industry “contributions,” from moving into the White House and completely dismantling these laws. That's why a public option, funded by the government (and therefore run and funded by us) is so important.

And it needs to happen. Despite right-wing opposition. Despite a manipulated public convinced such a system would kill all of our grandparents, provide free, state-of-the-art health care to our millions of illegal immigrants, and toss bags of money to states so they can set up abortion assembly lines. These people will never believe anything a Democratic administration tells them. They're much more comfortable believing lies as long as those lies come from “trusted” Republican mouths like Sarah Palin and Chuck Grassley. They're far too comfortable hearing the words “government takeover,” when in fact the proper term would be “The People takeover.”

Cost, as well, is just another red herring. The proposed cost to reform our health care industry, including a public option, is just under a trillion dollars over ten years. Quick math tells me that's $100 billion a year. Less than the yearly cost of our invasion of the Middle-East. Shave 1 percent from our massive annual defense budget and there's your health-care-for-all.

President Obama was right when he called health care reform a “moral imperative.” Unfortunately, his proposal leaves far too much wiggle room to maintain the status-quo. Unfortunately, even when Barack Obama raises the volume and sharpens the rhetoric, it's still the actual words that matter.

If health care reform passes without the public option, which would be an assertion that every single American could live their life without fear of losing everything if they were to become catastrophically ill, then it's no reform at all.

It would be an historic day for no one but members of the health insurance industry.

Bonuses for all!

Comments

  • Jack 4 years ago

    "There is nothing in the world like a persuasive speech to fuddle the mental apparatus and upset the convictions and debauch the emotions of an audience not practiced in the tricks and delusions of oratory." Mark Twain

  • Sean (Patriots Examiner) 4 years ago

    Liberals are just as crazy as the Conservatives.

    Better regulation, increased competition, and a public not-for-profit, self-sustainable system for people who can't afford heath care along with a mandate that everyone must be covered would do WONDERS for this country's health care costs and quality without driving up our deficit.

    We are not a Socialist country, like it or not. It's always better to allow the private sector to thrive, as long as the government regulates it effectively. It's the American way.

    Liberals just want to put the insurance companies out of business at all costs. Conservatives just want to keep things the way they are at all costs.

    Meanwhile, the rest of us, the middle 80%, are pretty much sold on what Obama is selling...but we're screwed because the minority of wackos on both sides run the government.

    I feel bad for Obama. His friends are just as insane as his enemies. He can't win. And the country will continue to suffer because of it...

    -S

  • Frances Griffin 4 years ago

    Big No mention of capping premiums. Bacchus in the Senate wants to let insurers charge seniors 5 times as much as others. No mention of capping copays. Not clear how the 10 max is computed or what happens when you get there. No discussion of the cost of the promised catastrophic insurance. No mention of private insurers delay and denial tactics. Insurance/coverage does not equal care. Medical care delayed is medical care denied. Most analysts agree there is no way for this plan as proposed to be "budget neutral" without cutting care.
    I was an Obama supporter. Still am glad we did not get the other guy! But very disappointed, though given the current corporate control of the media and the campaing financing structures, he is in one heck of a tough position.

    I have regular Medicare. With its flawsI love it. Way better and fewer hassles than private insurance. No playing "Mother May I." No one gets between me and my doctor. I support HR 676, John Conyers' very sensible single payer p

  • Frances Griffin 4 years ago

    Tried to do sorely needed edits on my comments, but that did not work. Sigh.

  • smerls 4 years ago

    Just when you start off with a well reasoned post you then fall into the dumper which is typical of the general debate.

    In any case I don't know how you can say medicare is successful?? It may provide a certain level of protection for seniors but Medicare itself is broke!! It will soon be out of money not to mentioned that just to make it work most seniors need to purchase supplemental insurance which many cannot afford!!

    I could go on there is a ton to pick apart but it probably is not worth it, by your past posts you are brainwashed into liberal dogma...

  • Scott Gibbs 4 years ago

    smerls,

    Someday I'll make you happy. Someday. Sigh.

  • GovtRunAmuck 4 years ago

    Let me give you a real life example of government run health care and how it works. Specifically, I speak in this case about Medicare. My father requires an oxygen machine to keep him alive. He gets the bill from Praxair for which most is picked up by Medicare at a price tag of $405/month for the machine, and $50/month for re-supply of oxygen tanks, of which he almost never uses, but is required as part of the “prescription”, and he still has 3 filled bottles from the original 5 he was issued 16 months ago. Well, I decided one day to see if I could buy one of these machines, and I found the exact same machine for sale in at least equal working condition for sale at a price of $450. So renting this machine for one month cost's about the same as buying a used one in the same basic condition!! It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to see this is the way our government runs things, or how so many of its programs fail/become bankrupt, and are fraught with fraud and abuse?

  • badman 4 years ago

    love it

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