Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Tonight, Obama to Reaffirm Importance (but not sine qua non) of Public Option in Speech to Both Houses Of Congress

Tonight, President Barack Obama will give a (hopefully impassioned) speech to a joint session of the US Congress in favor of moving forward with health care improvements. I say "improvements" because I really am not sure what Obama wants or what Obama thinks he can get, or what Obama will ultimately discover that he can get. I don't think any of us knows that.

I've said some very nasty things about the president over the last couple of weeks, as I have become completely frustrated with:

* Obama's seemingly listless advocacy, particularly in the face of Republican attacks;
* his seeming willingness to negotiate away virtually anything and everything, to get something I can't even describe;
* His statements that "public option" isn't essential, which is the sort of statement that makes the Left wish we had voted for Chris Rock instead;

The positive thing about Obama's advocacy is that we've been talking about health care improvement since he was elected and it has not yet definitively gone up in flames, like Hillarycare. Maybe that's because Obama has refused to make any particular aspect of his agenda a fixed target, and instead has made EVERYTHING a moving target until it becomes fixed in law. This understanding of his strategy is supported by an article in today's Washington Post, about how he cajoled a health care reform bill in the Illinois House and Senate.

So, having read that article and seeing his mushiness from a new perspective, I apologize to the President for any aspect of my criticisms that was unjust or cruelly vituperative. But, I stand behind any aspect of what I've said that turns out to be prescient and unfortunately apt.

The president's chief press liaison, Gibbs, is quoted in today's Washington Post as expressing on Obama's behalf how important a public option is.

"The public option is a way of putting a check on insurance companies," Gibbs said on NBC's "Today" show. "There can be no reform without adequate choice and competition that allows people to be able to pick and have options." Pressed on whether Obama feels "there can be no reform without the public option," Gibbs said that "the president will outline what he thinks the value of the public option is and why we have to have choice and competition in this system." WaPost

I certainly hope Obama won't abandon those obvious observations later on.

Right now I can go to my neighborhood Brazilian health clinic, get seen within a month for the most obscure specialties and within two days for the common ones, receive the service absolutely FOR FREE, and then receive any medicines the Government distributes for free. I haven't heard any indication that, after this health care "reform", I could get in the US what I now get in Brazil.

When I hear people talking about reducing costs by free markets, while not increasing the Government's role, I become afraid that "free market profiteers" are going to strangle health care reform like a cobra wrapping itself around the populous and squeezing us until our eyes pop out.

To hell with free markets and private competition. That's what got us into this mess! To hell with public option "triggers" that only kick in when doing nothing proves that the house will burn down, permitting a public health emergency that will get worse still by "trigger time", when Obama will finally act, if he and the Democratic Congress haven't been voted out yet!

I think the Republicans are only meeting with Democrats so they have more information with which to prepare their fanciful press releases damning all Democratic efforts.

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