Friday, February 26, 2010

A Moment in Time at the Summit

I tried to find one exchange that personified the health care summit.  Here’s my choice.


AP News

Feb 25, 2010 13:07 EST

republican_seal_cuffs When President Barack Obama and a Republican lawmaker sparred Thursday over what might happen to health insurance premiums in an overhauled system, both cited a nonpartisan analysis that looked at that very question. The president gave a fairer summary of what the analysis found.

Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander declared in his statement to the White House health policy conference that "for millions of Americans, premiums will go up" under the Obama plan. That much could be true — but for millions of others, premiums are expected to go down and those who face higher costs would be getting better coverage than they have now.

The debate on that point is key if Americans are to accept the insurance changes Obama wants. Democrats know that pitching their plan as a means to extend coverage to the uninsured is not enough: They must convince middle-income Americans who already have insurance that they, too, will end up with a better deal under the overhaul. So the squabble was about more than a bureaucratic report.

Obama sharply challenged Alexander on his claim and insisted he had the facts on his side when quoting from the report by the Congressional Budget Office. For the most part, he did.


republican-lies Obama: "Lamar, when you mentioned earlier that you said premiums go up, that's just not the case, according to the Congressional Budget Office."

Alexander: "Mr. President, if you're going to contradict me, I ought to have a chance .... The Congressional Budget Office report says that premiums will rise in the individual market as a result of the Senate bill."

Obama: "No, no, no, no. Let me — and this is an example of where we've got to get our facts straight."

Alexander: "That's my point."

Obama: "Well, exactly, so let me — let me respond to what you just said, Lamar, because it's not factually accurate. ... Here's what the Congressional Budget Office says: The costs for families for the same type of coverage that they're currently receiving would go down 14 percent to 20 percent. What the Congressional Budget Office says is that because now they've got a better deal, because policies are cheaper, they may choose to buy better coverage than they have right now, and that might be 10 percent to 13 percent more expensive than the bad insurance that they had previously."


Both are right, but Obama offered important context that Alexander left out.

The analysis estimated that average premiums for people buying insurance individually would be 10 to 13 percent higher in 2016 under the Senate legislation, as Alexander said. But the policies would cover more, and about half the people would be getting substantial government subsidies to defray the extra costs.

As the president said, if the policies offered today were offered in 2016, they would be considerably cheaper under the plan, even without subsidies. One big reason: Many more healthy young people would be signing up for the coverage because insurance would become mandatory. They are cheap to insure and would moderate costs for others.

Moreover, the analysis estimated that almost 60 percent of the people covered under individual policies would qualify for subsidies, bringing their own costs down by more than half from what they pay now…

Inserted from <TPM>

Here’s the video:


In short, while the Republicans were not as ill prepared as they were during their conference, they had nothing to bring to the table, except for their tired old talking points and lies.  The Democrats were not that impressive either, but Obama stood out.

The GOP has made it abundantly clear that there is no negotiating with them.  Without the public option, the bill is far less than it should be.  Nevertheless, the good qualities it does have are too significant to allow it to slip away.  After a VERY brief pause (ten minutes would be ideal), lets move on to reconciliation.  AQs soon as it’s passes, and signed, it will be tome to start pushing for health care reform: single-payer.


the walking man said...

I fell asleep for my nap. about two hours in length. I started to be less than amused when i woke up and was still hearing the same thing as I had been hearing a couple of hours before.

"We need to start over"

"A majority of the people do not want this bill"

"Tell us right now that you won't use parliamentary maneuvers to pass this thing."

"Can we get to the substance of where we do agree?"

"blah blah blah...we won this discussion"

And no mention of a public option which a majority of people want or a single payer system like the other parts of the world have already in place.

Jack Jodell said...

It was very, very obvious to me that the Republicans had prepared in advance a rehearsed and fully memorized response to the President, complete with specific talking points which each of them uttered exactly the same, like a cage full of chattering parrots. It was exactly as I expected: the Republicans holding firm to killing health reform altogether and not yielding an inch. Theirs was not a gesture of coming forward in good faith to solve a problem. |Their aim was solely to stonewall and grandstand. As for "the overwhelming majority of people being against this bill", they must be made up only of the voices Mitch McConnell is hearing inside his head as he stands before a mirror. The fact is, the majority of people want health care reform INCLUDING A PUBLIC OPTION, and they want it NOW! As usual, the Republicans are being obstructionists and liars. Time for reconcialtion---BIG TIME!

tnlib said...

The Republicans are no different from puppets. They have wooden heads and hearts and they goose-step behind their leader.

Sue said...

What a circus HUH!!? That Alexander exchange was a great one, but another one I loved was the smackdown with Boring Barrasso, I chose it to highlight.

I really was impressed with the president yesterday and also Reid and Pelosi. I enjoyed it all!

Lisa G. said...

That was a terrific synopsis of what happened and exactly what I thought would happen. The Repubs have nothing but their tired old talking points and Obama rightfully smacked them down.

Do you think Bush would have had a 'summit' on a large bill like this? Hell no, he'd just ram it through reconciliation and be done with it.

Sue said...

you got that right Lisa, and he did just that!
How about the part where Boehner bonehead said the HC bill WILL bankrupt our nation, all the while I hope dems are remembering back in '03 when rethugs passed the 400 billion dollar medicare prescription bill, without it being paid for!
Hypocrite rethugs make me puke!!

Hugh Jee From Jersey said...

There were some brilliant moments in the summit, but overall it amounted to Barack Obama vs Republican Talking Points (talk about sticking to the script!).

The Dems have a punchers chance of pulling healthcare reform off the precipice and getting it passed because- paraphrase a famous basketball coach- "We've got Barack Obama, and you don't".

Sue said...


TomCat said...

Actually, Mark, the public option was mentioned a couple times.

Jack, that's the way i see it.

Tnlib, I have to disagree. Pupputs do not know how to hate.

Sue, that was a good one too There were enough choices for several bolggers. :-)

Lisa, Bush would have had a Summit. He woulkd have invited only Cheney, Rice, Gonzales and Rumsfeld.

Amen, Sue.

Hugh, I think Obama regained control of the message.

Karen said...

Prez O did stand out... showed all of them, including some of the Dems, how ignorant they are.

btw TomCat... saw you listed on Mike's FB friends' list so I sent you a FB friend request! :o)

Dave Dubya said...

I thought Obama checked all the GOP stooges quite handily. Cantor's fear and "props", Barrasso's idiotic aristocratic "catastrophic" plan, McCain's election campaigning, Boehners' lies about, abortion, bankruptcy, and the bill being "dangerous to the world's best health care system".

Even though I despise and distrust much of the bill, I despise and distrust the Republicans far more.

They must be defeated.

Holte Ender said...

The Republicans were much better prepared this time, but so was Obama, the rest of the Democrats pale in his shadow.

TomCat said...

And of course I confirmed, Karen. How could anyone deny such a lovely lady?

Dave, I'm not happy with the bill either, but unless we go for it there will be nothing upon which to build.

I agree, Holte. None of the other Dems impressed me, except Wyden.