If I say it was agood speech, will you promise not to hit me?
Seriously, the man can talk a good game, I think we all know this by now, but what was actually in there for me? Was good, bad, and ugly.
1. Ending recission (seriously, it’s so outrageous sometimes I think we forget it’s not already against the law and that ending it will be a huge fucking deal):
Under this plan, it will be against the law for insurance companies to
deny you coverage because of a pre-existing condition. As soon as I
sign this bill, it will be against the law for insurance companies to
drop your coverage when you get sick or water it down when you need it
2. Support for a public option at all:
But an additional step we can take to keep insurance companies honest
is by making a not-for-profit public option available in the insurance
3. Calling out GOP crap for what it is:
I will not waste time with those who have made the calculation that
it’s better politics to kill this plan than improve it. I will not
stand by while the special interests use the same old tactics to keep
things exactly the way they are. If you misrepresent what’s in the
plan, we will call you out. And I will not accept the status quo as a
solution. Not this time. Not now.
1. Mandates to purchase coverage and penalty fees for going without. If you don’t have the money for insurance, and I honestly do not know any of these apparently thousands of people who don’t have insurance cuz they just don’t wanna, you will not have the money for fines. Getting everyone INSURED isn’t the goal. Getting everyone healthy is. And the auto insurance comparison is bullshit; no child has to pay for car insurance and you don’t have to have it if you don’t drive. You can choose not to drive but last I checked you can’t choose not to get cancer or get hit by a bus.
And unless everybody does their part, many of the insurance reforms
we seek – especially requiring insurance companies to cover
pre-existing conditions – just can’t be achieved.
That’s why under my plan, individuals will be required to carry
basic health insurance – just as most states require you to carry auto
2. Going soft on the insurance companies in general. Here’s a newsflash, even people who work at insurance companies think insurance companies suck. In fact, ESPECIALLY people who work at insurance companies think insurance companies suck. There’s really nothing to be lost by demonizing them outright, since that’s what they’re gonna hear anyway.
Now, I have no interest in putting insurance companies out of business.
They provide a legitimate service, and employ a lot of our friends and
neighbors. I just want to hold them accountable. The insurance reforms
that I’ve already mentioned would do just that.
3. All this revenue-neutral bullshit. Literally no one cares about deficits. Even the teabaggers don’t care, and the way I know that is that their wonderful fiscally responsible protests were nowhere during the Bush tax cuts and the two wars we started. People may say they care about the deficit but really, they care about if their lives are getting better. Right now their lives suck because if they get sick they’re screwed, and ON TOP OF IT we’re adding to the deficit. If everything else was shiny and happy, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. And by the by, I’d like the next time someone comes up with a supplemental war spending measure for it to be put on hold until it was revenue-neutral. What a load of shit.
I have insisted that like any private insurance company, the public
insurance option would have to be self-sufficient and rely on the
premiums it collects.
1. FOUR YEARS? Four years to enact the most paltry of reforms? Look, I get, as Sherrod Brown was pointing out on Keith’s postgame, that saying you’re gonna do it in four years doesn’t mean it has to take four years, but you’ll pardon me for not exactly trusting a damn word out of anybody’s mouth in Washington about health care reform, mmkay? “Trust us, it won’t take four years,” I mean, dude, it shouldn’t take four minutes because somebody, somewhere, is being assasinated by a spreadsheet right this very moment and “be patient while the insurance companies get comfortable with the fact that the day is no longer theirs” isn’t gonna save THAT GUY.
And all insurance companies that want access to this new marketplace
will have to abide by the consumer protections I already mentioned.
This exchange will take effect in four years, which will give us time
to do it right.
2. Remember all those Bush speeches when he was president where he slapped around his own party’s most passionate supporters for passionately supporting what they wanted? Remember how he went in front of Congress and talked about “some on the right” who were kind of kooky and out there? Remember that? WELL ME FUCKING EITHER. God almighty, I knew this concilatory crap was Obama’s kink but I just sort of assumed that like a lot of the shit he said about the rule of law he didn’t really mean it. But there he was, creating false equivalencies between people who want to give others health care, and people who want him dead.
Blah blah blah political calculation: Look, if you’re a progressive Dem and you’ve been working your ass off do you really want to be compared to Chuck Grassley? I’m sure that kind of tit-for-tat everyone-is-an-asshole talk will make Tweety wet his panties but boyfriend only has one vote and it’s already yours, so WTF?
But what we have also seen in these last months is the same partisan
spectacle that only hardens the disdain many Americans have toward
their own government. Instead of honest debate, we have seen scare
tactics. Some have dug into unyielding ideological camps that offer no
hope of compromise. Too many have used this as an opportunity to score
short-term political points, even if it robs the country of our
opportunity to solve a long-term challenge. And out of this blizzard of
charges and counter-charges, confusion has reigned.
What confusion has there been? Did Richard Cohen write this section? The only “confusion” that there has been has been the result of talk radio psychos and Republican congressmen trying to get famous, plus, you know, the wilfull ignorance of the AP and NPR when it came to the real cost of any public plan. If you’re not batshit crazy, you ain’t confused, and if you’re batshit crazy, you’re probably not listening to the president anyway. If Obama could somehow manage to talk about how batshit crazy the Republicans are without this kind of passive “mistakes were made on all sides” thing, I wouldn’t mind so much since it’s mostly a waste of his time and not mine, but I resent being slapped around just so that his hand can land on Republicans too.
3. Not going whole hog and threatening a veto without a public option. Again, blah blah blah I get it. Still, the problem now isn’t that we don’t all know we should have reform and love each other. The problem is that you have all these different camps looking to you for direction and these ain’t critical thinkers. They’re in Congress. Tell them what you want.
Following the speech a giant hybrid meatspace/Interwebs argument broke out between me, Mr. A, and a few people in the van over whether this was as good as we could get but not enough, totally shitty and half a loaf, half a moldy loaf, Obama being Obama, a total betrayal of the idea of hope and change, or just the first step in a series of steps. That argument, in this house at least, is still going on.