Following is President Obama's entire speech about health care reform wednesday night, along with my explanatory comments enclosed in brackets. Consider this is a public service. Note - I mostly comment on things I disagree with, or on things that set off my bs detector. Not always, but mostly.
Without further ado, here's our President (clap, clap, clap).
Good evening. Before I take your questions, I want to talk for a few minutes about the progress we’re making on health insurance reform and where it fits into our broader economic strategy. [Great, because I'm pretty confused about it]
Six months ago, I took office amid the worst recession in half a century. We were losing an average of 700,000 jobs per month and our financial system was on the verge of collapse.
As a result of the action we took in those first weeks, we have been able to pull our economy back from the brink. We took steps to stabilize our financial institutions and our housing market. [What's this 'we' stuff ? Most bailouts and TARP were passed by the Bush administration] And we passed a Recovery Act that has already saved jobs and created new ones [there have been 2 million jobs LOST since the Recovery Act was passed, and only 10% of the funds have been spent, not enough to make a real difference]; delivered billions in tax relief to families and small businesses [yeah, that $400 really turned my life around. NOT. Plus, Obama's tax cut expires next year]; and extended unemployment insurance and health insurance to those who have been laid off. [that COBRA health insurance costs $400 per month. I don't know many unemployed folk who can afford it]
Of course, we still have a long way to go. And the Recovery Act will continue to save and create more jobs over the next two years – just like it was designed to do. [if we had to spend $800 billion on a stimulus package, why didn't you design one that would have provided short term stimulus, instead of spending taking place over YEARS ? We'd be better off if we cancelled the rest of it and saved the money. The recession will end naturally by the time your "stimulus" takes effect] I realize this is little comfort to those Americans who are currently out of work, and I’ll be honest with you – new hiring is always one of the last things to bounce back after a recession.
And the fact is, even before this crisis hit, we had an economy that was creating a good deal of wealth for folks at the very top, but not a lot of good-paying jobs for the rest of America. [because we exported our manufacturing base to China and other places] It’s an economy that simply wasn’t ready to compete in the 21st century – one where we’ve been slow to invest in the clean energy technologies [or ANY energy technologies] that have created new jobs and industries in other countries [so we'll pass cap-and-trade and lose millions more jobs]; where we’ve watched our graduation rates lag behind too much of the world [public schools - big government excellence in action]; and where we spend much more on health care than any other nation but aren’t any healthier for it [and government runs nearly half the health care industry already. Before the government got involved, health care wasn't so expensive in this country].
That is why I’ve said that even as we rescue this economy from a full-blown crisis, we must rebuild it stronger than before. And health insurance reform is central to that effort.
This is not just about the 47 million Americans who have no health insurance. [Democrats voted down an amendment to exclude illegal immigrants from ObamaCare. We get to pay for them too] Reform is about every American who has ever feared that they may lose their coverage if they become too sick, or lose their job, or change their job. It’s about every small business that has been forced to lay off employees or cut back on their coverage because it became too expensive. And it’s about the fact that the biggest driving force behind our federal deficit is the skyrocketing cost of Medicare and Medicaid. [agreed, though the true driving force behind our federal deficit is POLITICIANS.]
So let me be clear: if we do not control these costs, we will not be able to control our deficit. If we do not reform health care, your premiums and out-of-pocket costs will continue to skyrocket. If we do not act, 14,000 Americans will continue to lose their health insurance every single day. These are the consequences of inaction. These are the stakes of the debate we’re having right now. [Actually, the central question is, will America be better off or worse off with your health care reforms ?}
I realize that with all the charges and criticisms being thrown around in Washington, [aka, facts inconvenient to Obama's agenda] many Americans may be wondering, “What’s in this for me? How does my family stand to benefit from health insurance reform?”
Tonight I want to answer those questions. Because even though Congress is still working through a few key issues, we already have agreement on the following areas:
If you already have health insurance, the reform we’re proposing will provide you with more security and more stability. It will keep government out of health care decisions [and if you believe that, I have a bridge to sell you], giving you the option to keep your insurance if you’re happy with it. [as long as your insurance meets specified government standards and regulations, and is on the government's health care exchange list. In other words, choice will be limited] It will prevent insurance companies from dropping your coverage if you get too sick. It will give you the security of knowing that if you lose your job, move, or change your job, you will still be able to have coverage. It will limit the amount your insurance company can force you to pay for your medical costs out of your own pocket. And it will cover preventive care like check-ups and mammograms that save lives and money. [aren't most these things in existence already ?]
If you don’t have health insurance, or are a small business looking to cover your employees, you’ll be able to choose a quality, affordable health plan through a health insurance exchange – a marketplace that promotes choice and competition. [NOT] Finally, no insurance company will be allowed to deny you coverage because of a pre-existing medical condition. [when he says a small business will "be able" to choose a health plan, he means it will "be forced" to provide a health plan or pay a fine]
I have also pledged that health insurance reform will not add to our deficit over the next decade – and I mean it. [Bend over. Here come the tax increases] In the past eight years, we saw the enactment of two tax cuts, primarily for the wealthiest Americans [actually, they were across the board income tax rate cuts for all Americans], and a Medicare prescription program, none of which were paid for. [true] This is partly why I inherited a $1.3 trillion deficit. [Which you've turned into a $1.8 billion deficit, with projected future deficits of $9.3 trillion, more than any other administration, by far]
That will not happen with health insurance reform. It will be paid for. Already, we have estimated that two-thirds of the cost of reform can be paid for by reallocating money that is simply being wasted in federal health care programs. [can you say "pipe dream" ? Or should you say 'rationing' ?] This includes over one hundred billion dollars in unwarranted subsidies that go to insurance companies as part of Medicare – subsidies that do nothing to improve care for our seniors. And I’m pleased that Congress has already embraced these proposals. While they are currently working through proposals to finance the remaining costs, [so, you STILL don't know how you're going to pay for it] I continue to insist that health reform not be paid for on the backs of middle-class families. [you mean like the cigarette tax for SCHIP health care, a regressive tax that hits the poor the hardest ?]
In addition to making sure that this plan doesn’t add to the deficit in the short-term, the bill I sign must also slow the growth of health care costs in the long run. Our proposals would change incentives so that doctors and nurses are free to give patients the best care, not just the most expensive care. [If anyone know what this means, please inform] That’s why the nation’s largest organizations representing doctors and nurses have embraced our plan. [Right. It wouldn't be because you bought them off by increasing their Medicare fees, would it ??? Which, btw, INCREASES the costs of Medicare. It sure doesn't decrease it]
We also want to create an independent group of doctors and medical experts [the rationing board ?] who are empowered to eliminate waste and inefficiency in Medicare on an annual basis – a proposal that could save even more money and ensure the long-term financial health of Medicare. Overall, our proposals will improve the quality of care for our seniors and save them thousands of dollars on prescription drugs, which is why the AARP has endorsed our reform efforts. [many other doctors oppose Obama's reform, including the Mayo Clinic, whom Obama has praised for providing cost effective care]
Not all of the cost savings measures I just mentioned were contained in Congress’s draft legislation, but we are now seeing broad agreement thanks to the work that was done over the last few days. So even though we still have a few issues to work out, [like how we're really going to lower costs and address Medicare's unfunded liabilities] what’s remarkable at this point is not how far we have left to go – it’s how far we have already come.
I understand how easy it is for this town to become consumed in the game of politics – to turn every issue into running tally of who’s up and who’s down. I’ve heard that one Republican strategist told his party that even though they may want to compromise, it’s better politics to “go for the kill.” Another Republican Senator said that defeating health reform is about “breaking” me. [that was Sen. Demint. Dumb thing to say, Demint. This isn't about Obama. It's about the country]
So let me be clear: This isn’t about me. [Hey, I just said that] I have great health insurance, and so does every Member of Congress. [which is why Congress is exempt from the government run health plan. That's only for us peons. It isn't good enough for our lords and masters.] This debate is about the letters I read when I sit in the Oval Office every day, and the stories I hear at town hall meetings. [cue the violin music] This is about the woman in Colorado who paid $700 a month to her insurance company only to find out that they wouldn’t pay a dime for her cancer treatment – who had to use up her retirement funds to save her own life. This is about the middle-class college graduate from Maryland whose health insurance expired when he changed jobs, and woke up from emergency surgery with $10,000 in debt. This is about every family, every business, and every taxpayer who continues to shoulder the burden of a problem that Washington has failed to solve for decades. [Sniff, sob. Okay, Mr. President, just pass any health care reform you want, even if it destroys the economy and the health care system. As long as it helps that poor woman from Colorado...sniff]
This debate is not a game for these Americans, and they cannot afford to wait for reform any longer. [If Obama's health care reform is passed, the public option won't go into effect UNTIL 2013] They are counting on us to get this done. They are looking to us for leadership. And we must not let them down. We will pass reform that lowers cost [the CBO estimates it will cost $1.5 trillion MORE], promotes choice [choose the GOVERNMENT OPTION !!!!], and provides coverage that every American can count on. And we will do it this year. And with that, I’ll take your questions.
I'm sure glad the President cleared all that stuff up for me, because now I really, um, well, it cost what again?....I don't quite underst...if the, uh,......rats, I'm still confused. Did he say anything new at all ? As always, the details remain elusive. I have an idea. How about the Prez and Congress get together, work out a plan, and THEN tell us what it is in clear terms we can understand. Spare me the campaigning, Mr. Obama. You're ALREADY the President.
To think, I could have watched my DVR'ed episode of HBO's True Blood instead.
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