Random health care speech thoughts

I thought it was a very good speech, though you'd probably be hard-pressed to find a more sympathetic viewer than me. (Even Michelle looked like she was in a bad mood as people were getting seated.) While I don't know that it will sway anyone across the aisle, I think it did a good job of reminding people why we're having this debate in the first place. Some thoughts:

1) Boy, insurance companies sure aren't feeling the love these days. One of the things I always look for during any presidential address to Congress is which issues or statements get people standing and applauding through the whole chamber. And the bits about ending insurance company abuses (denial of coverage for preexisting conditions, rescission, etc.) got everyone to their feet. Since reform of the insurance industry is one of the things I most hope to see passed, I was pleased by this.

2) Yes, you heard that right. The President called a lie a lie. (If anyone was paying any attention to the Palin Op-Ed before, somehow I doubt they are now.) It was heartening to hear the plain truth spoken.

3) On a related note, I don't expect Rep. Joe Wilson (R -- Bleachers) will be getting a Christmas card from the Obamas this year. While I agree with Matt that it felt bracingly Old Country to hear a member of the legislature heckling the leader of the country, it's kind of a shame that he chose to be so terribly rude about a point that's not actually true.

4) Malpractice reform. Good. Thank you. It's a good idea, Mr. President. Defensive medicine really does drive up health care costs. (Though whether it plays a larger role that merely crappy medicine is a difficult question to answer.) The GOP is right on that issue, and I'm glad to see that there is space for it in the President's plan.

5) The conclusion of the speech was a good reminder of why people (ideally) enter politics, and why liberals (like certain amateur political bloggers) support government solutions when the free market has failed. I am heartily sick of seeing "self pay" listed for patients' insurance carrier, and wondering how they will pay for the tests and treatments that they need. (Or if we're going to eat the costs of the visit.) It's a real problem that affects real people, and it's time for a real solution.


  1. The loyal opposition responds thusly:

    2. "Death panels" are not a lie. It is a dysphemism, it is a harsh description, but people with common sense understand that a government panel of Harvard ethicists and medical experts drawing up recommended treatment "guidelines" with an eye to bending the cost curve sounds an awful lot like a "death panel." It isn't that granny will have the plug pulled, but she won't get hooked up in the first place. Normal people understand this, despite the repeated assurances that the words 'death' and 'panel' do not occur next to each other in the text of the bill. Yet.

    3. Yes, everyone remembers how very, very civil the Dems were to Pres. Bush. All those boos and catcalls during his SOTU addresses? That's all water under the bridge, what is important is that Republicans are rude when they do it, and Dems, well, not so much. There is something about geese and sauces here, too.

    Me personally, I suggest Pres. Scary-Smart put his big girl panties on. If the Reps were to boo each lie of the President during the speech, there would be many a sore throat today.

    4. The Democratic party will never, ever pass a bill with meaningful medical tort reform. Bank on it. The DNC does.

    5. We've tried the free market in insurance? We are in this pickle of nonportable, tied-to-employment health insurance precisely because Congress started offering tax benefits to business that it denies individuals. Why don't we end that mistake?

    As far as the government providing "solutions", we can all look to Medicare and Medicaid -- oh, wait, they are broke; well, look to the Social Security -- oh, wait, it is broke too; well, look to Freddie and Fannie -- oh, wait, they are broke; well, look to Amtrack or the Post Office -- darn it, broke and broke; well, look at how strongly Pres. Obama has held the line on the budget and the national debt. As Sen. Obama clearly stated, and I quote "[R]aising America's debt limit is a sign of leadership failure" end quote. oh, wait...

  2. who the hell starts at #2? Well, the #2 is just rank idiocy, but the blaring illogic of gj is here to see. #4 Doctors get sued too much so they must do more than is necessary to stop that. #2 Doctors won't plug up granny because...umm...
    How the hell can you have tort reform if in the next breath you will accuse doctors of murdering their patients to save money. #2 and #4 utterly contradict each other you jackass.
    As it so happens, I don't for a minute believe in #2 so I do support tort reform. Don't shoot yourself in the foot with this argument. Of course, it all comes down to how we define meaningful tort reform. For gj I am sure it is just a catch phrase that he has given no thought to.
    #3 murmurs, derisive laughter, etc. have been part of the process forever. Republicans did it to Clinton. No one, ever, has interrupted the President in such a blatant act of disrespect. This is why not one Congressman has defended Wilson. gj of course can't see this, everything has to have its nasty Democrat equivalence so it can balance out in his petty little brain.
    #5, not half bad, except that is not the issue, private individuals even with a tax break simply can't compete with a company that insures hundreds of employees, it costs insurance companies more to deal with individuals than groups.

    Medicare and Medicaid are not broke, in fact Medicare is running a surplus and will until 2017. This is the reason why we need to address future cost projections. And Social Security is not broke, it is also running a surplus now. Honestly gj, can you get at least one fact right somewhere? Do I have to define the word broke to you?

    And what the hell has Amtrack have to do with this? It was not designed to be a profit center, do the interstate highways make profits? Really, how dumb can you be? And, of course, the Post office is not broke either. Has the mail stopped coming to your house?

    You wonder why I am not civil to you, but you really, really have to stop being so wrong about everything. Please, please think before you write.


  3. Dan #3, in England the PM is not the head of Government, the Queen is and she, of course, has never, ever been heckled when she makes an address to Parliment. (A king has been beheaded but never heckled) And when she makes an address it is to present the platform of the ruling party. It is only at question and answer period in the House of Commons that the PM is subject to a to and fro.

  4. Why start with #2? I don't disagree with anything in #1.

    Doctors won't plug up granny because a) they won't get paid and b) they might lose their license if they aren't diligent enough at bending the cost curve. You think the Feds are going to rely on voluntary cooperation?

    Yes, much better if Joe Wilson had thrown his shoes at Mr. Obama.

    Private industry doesn't want the headache of running insurance interference for employees. That's why the Public Option will encourage employers to drop other coverage and shift their employees to the Public Option.

    Medicare and Social Security are broke by any acturial standard; they have outstanding commitments well in excess of current assets. That's called broke in accounting parlance. Sure, we meet today's cash flow needs, but the end is nigh. In environmental terms, Medicare and SS are unsustainable.

    The Post Office and Amtrack are supposed to pay their own way; why should I pony up good money so some fat cat NY banker can live in a tony suburb of Conn., or the publishers of Time can have distribution subsidized?

    Regarding the Queen, yes, I do believe Pres. Scary-Smart thinks he is royalty and wants to be treated like it. But the office of Queen is unlike any office in the US government; the Prime Minister is far closer to the US President. And believe me, the British Prime Minister has his big girl panties on during Question Time. No whining about civility, plenty of sharp insults flying, and somehow the British survive.

  5. I accept the kind correction of the anonymous poster with regard to the head of the government in the UK.

  6. The British monarch is the Head of State in the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth, while the Prime Minister is Head of the Government. Let's be precise, shall we?

  7. Dan, that was me Charo for the correction about the Queen, I thought you recognized my oeuvre. Hah.

    "Doctors won't plug up granny because a) they won't get paid and b) they might lose their license if they aren't diligent enough at bending the cost curve. You think the Feds are going to rely on voluntary cooperation?"

    They would get their asses sued off, that is why, and do you think DrDanny will let someone die because he is worried about some cost curve. That is just a vile smear. Honest to God, can you never argue in good faith. Actually, your solution is to take your gun and shoot people, right? You love guns so I might as well accuse you of a secret desire to kill everyone. Jackass

    "Yes, much better if Joe Wilson had thrown his shoes at Mr. Obama." More idiocy, that was an Iraqi lunatic you asshole. God, you are an asshole.

    "Private industry doesn't want the headache of running insurance interference for employees. That's why the Public Option will encourage employers to drop other coverage and shift their employees to the Public Option." Isn't that the reason why we should have a public option, or are you in favor of saddling businesses with headaches? Great business model you have there.
    This is one of the reasons why Obama is proposing insurance exchanges so that individuals can opt in and get group rates and companies can finally get away from ancillary bullshit like providing health care. You argument makes the Public option better, not worse.

    And they have been saying Medicare and Social Security are going broke for over a generation now there Mr. Chicken little. You have no idea about the economy. In fact, it is very likely that both Medicare and Social Security will be flush with cash given technological wave theory.
    In 1900 farmers represented 38% of the labor force, now it is about 2.6%, and the output is greater. In industry after industry increases of productivity and technology have rendered old thinking obselete. I have more faith in American ingeniuty than you do, but you are an idiot who has no imagination so that is not hard to do.

    The post office does pay its own way so again you are an idiot, and even if it didn't...honestly, do you really think rural communities would be serviced if the Post office were privatized? you schmuck. Same with rural roads and electricity, etc.

    And you have no f-ing clue about the British style of Government. The PM is not like the President. You are wrong in so many ways I can't even count them. The PM is only a member of Parliment, similar to Nancy Pelosi, people vote for parties, in the US we choose our President, in England the party in power does, which is why Tony Blair left and Gordon Brown became PM, and the Labor party could have chosen anyone they wanted. And I could go on and on.

    The President is the Head of state and the Commander in Chief, we have afforded the office a level of respect different than other nations, if you don't like it, move to Britain or Canada. Oh wait, horror of horrors, they have UHC.

  8. As I wrote on another thread: Years ago there was a Little Rascals short about some child who when asked what he wanted to be, instead of saying the requisite "I want to be President" said "I want to be a streetcar conductor" which drove all the adults batty. Of course at the time that could only be asked about white children, it is only now that any child, black, white, male, female (and I believe gay or straight) can say they want to be President. Back then people knew the President was our collective role model. Now when aspirations have never been higher, we knock down what it means to be President. (well gj does, but only if it is a Demmycrat, if it is a Repulirat than that jerkwipe would sing another tune, as to me my tune has always remained the same)

    And geez gj, when they say "Her Majesties Government" they are referring to Gordon Brown, right? The chief executive of England is the prime minister. In America the head of Goverment is not Obama, he is the chief executive. How precise is that for you, numbnuts? If you don't like that the British say "Her Majesties Government" write the Queen and complain.

    Honestly, gj you are comparing apples to firehoses the differences are so profound.

    And the crowd goes wild and assfly John is thoroughly whipped again, look at him whimper on the floor crush, beaten, and humiliated. Will he come back for more? Certainly, since we all know he is an intellectual masochist who enjoys getting beat down.


  9. Well, clearly Anonymous Charo cannot handle disagreement without becoming a foul-mouthed lout, so back in the oubliette for him. If you ever want to play nice again, charo, just say so.

    BTW, relating to Pres. Obama's lies, the Congressional Research Service says that the House bill HR3200 indeed does not restrict illegal aliens from participating in the Exchange. It does explicitly prohibit illegals from receiving Affordability Credits. However, it requires that illegals obtain coverage. I can't wait to see how this plays out.

    CRS document

  10. hah, it should be "Her Majesty's Government"

    When I make a mistake I am more than happy to own up to it. Hurried writing is no excuse for simple grammatical errors. My willingness to own up to any mistakes I commit is one of the reasons why I am superior in everyway to gadfly john. I say this most humbly, because, after all, we are talking about gadfly john. If I had to choose between anal warts and gadfly john, I would have to flip a coin since they are both such pains in the ass.


  11. Hey, I was thinking, the confusion most Americans have for the different offices of Head of State and Head of the Government might explain a lot about Pres. Obama. Hear me out...

    In a constitutional monarchy, like the UK, the monarch is the Head of State, and in the UK the Prime Minister is Head of the Government. The PM is the CEO, and has the authority and responsibility to see that Things Get Done. The Queen, delightful lady that she is, cannot even vote, rather, her role as HoS is to throw lavish parties, receive foreign dignitaries and ambassadors, and do things like cut ribbons when major projects open.

    The US President's office is both Head of State and Head of the Government. I can see that Mr. Obama would make a killer Head of State. He can throw a great party, he looks good, gives a pretty speech, and even though he is on the cold side and needs some serious help picking gifts for visitors, he would do a great job as Head of State. I think that's the job he thought he had won. But the US President's real job is CEO of the executive branch. The CEO part is where all the heavy lifting occurs. Mr. Obama was completely inexperienced and totally unprepared for this aspect of the office. His career in elected office was as a legislator, not an executive. Being a good executive is hard work. It isn't enough to be smart. Mr. Obama is not especially talented at actually running a government, and it shows.

  12. GJ, I do not agree with Charo calling you that name! She should have said you are a "Roaring Asshole". You are probably a liar and a thief too, but we don't know enough about you to make that distinction; well maybe the liar part. I do suspect you of somehow being behind the Crucifixion, but must do further research on Fox News to determine the extent of your involvement. Wow I like slinging mud, I must be turning into a Conservative Republican.

  13. gj, some rebuttal, whining that your were called a name. If you were to stop with your evil lies, like claiming Democrats want nothing more than pulling the plug on granny, I will stop thrashing you. It is you who insult, it is you who are a lout, it is you who are evil. Even in your above posting you make assertions but present no evidence that he is not a good executive. Every major and even minor piece of legislation he has put forward has either been passed or is in process. He has not suffered a single legislative defeat. He has continued prosecuting the war in Iraq and has ramped it up in Afghanistan, on the advice of his generals and of his advisors. There has been no attack on American soil (unlike Bush, who at this point in his Presidency suffered a major terrorist attack despite ample evidence that one was in the offing, instead he fixated on missile defense)

    Obviously Obama is a great leader, a mixed race dark skinned man with a muslim sounding name doesn't exactly stumble into the office (unlike Bush, who traded on his family name and connections and a one vote majority in the Supreme court to engineer his selection, one that he lost in the popular vote and one that we will never know if was legitimately won in Florida)

    See, these things are called facts, the only fact you mentioned was the Obama was a Legislator as though it means much.