Lie to Me: Obama’s 29th Speech on Healthcare
As Zeus said to Narcissus, watch yourself.
Obama’s speech last night was a rehash of the same old tired politics of yesterday. Like the Dingle clan, Obama decided to stick with what has been soundly (and knowingly) rejected by the American public, rather than pursue a bipartisan compromise that would include meaningful tort reform and inter-state competition between insurance companies.
More of a liberal pep-rally than a sales pitch or a bipartisan coming together, Obama’s speech can be broken into five distinct parts:
- Obama’s “specifics.”
- Republican “lies.”
- The public option.
- Deficits and Medicare.
- An attempt to cloud the debate with an emotional ploy leveraging the memory of a recently departed Senator.
Obama “announced” three broad categories of specifics, none of which were new and none of which were particularly specific. Tellingly, most of these were also not incorporated in any of the legislation being considered by Congress:
- Something for everyone. Including bankruptcy for insurers. This was as specific as Obama got, a liturgy of rainbows and unicorns designed to bankrupt insurance companies, including no preexisting conditions, no coverage caps and no denial of coverage. Any one of these changes would drive up premiums, all of them would make insurance prohibitively expensive.
- The infamous insurance exchange. Why allow insurers to simply compete across state lines when another bloated federal bureacracy staffed with lazy, SEIU shlubs can do half the work at twice the cost? As an added bonus, the exchange would include “tax credits, the size of which will be based on your need.” So the federal government will be using a progressive tax code (taking more from those who have an ability to make more) and giving it to those who have a greater need. I’ve seen that somewhere before.
- Unfunded Mandates. Finally, as announced by Max Baucus, you will henceforth be required to buy insurance, even if you don’t need it or want it. This completes the puzzle:
Point 1 lets Obama say he fixed the system (although this will ferociously drive up premiums and drive down service). Point 2 lets Obama say he increased competition, although the immense drag from an additional layer of federal bureaucracy (and the additional cost of supporting more bloated morons) will have to be borne somehow. Point 3 provides the insurance companies with the fresh blood to keep the system from collapsing while simultaneously allowing Obama to claim he didn’t raise taxes. Of course, if you didn’t have insurance yesterday, the government just forced you to pay $4,000 you weren’t paying, but hey, it’s not your money, you’re just holding it for Obama.
The next part so inflamed Rep. Joe Wilson, that he behaved in such a manner as to be mistaken for a Democrat during the Bush years.
The next part so inflamed Rep. Joe Wilson, that he behaved in such a manner as to be mistaken for a Democrat during the Bush years. Obama, while lying to Americans about healthcare, accused Republicans of lying to Americans about healthcare:
Death Panels. There were sexist overtones in this veiled swipe, as Obama used code language in referring to Sarah Palin as “plain and simple.” (Damn, that feels good to throw it back in their race baiting faces). Death panels are inartfully named, but they do exist. They exist in the National Health System in the UK, they exist in Canada and they exist in the original draft of the current bill. They are a means of cost control, and Obama himself has raised the issue when he talked about not covering his grandmother’s hip replacement and suggesting a 93 year old woman “taking a pain pill” instead of a pacemaker. They are evident in the Veteran Administration’s guide to dying without dignity. Anytime the government spends money on end of life care, it will either be writing a blank check or it will be deciding how and when to withhold care. How it does controls cost is a matter of concern. The Democratic bill puts in place an unelected, unaccountable bureaucracy, which Palin and others have called a death panel.
There were sexist overtones in this veiled swipe, as Obama used code language in referring to Sarah Palin as “plain and simple.”
- Covering Illegals. Obama charged that conservatives had mislead Americans into believing that ObamaCare would cover illegal aliens, saying that “the reforms I’m proposing would not apply to those who are here illegally.” This was the moment at which Joe Wilson jumped up like a congregant at Reverend Wright’s church, only this time, Obama noticed. The problem, of course, is that this is a lie. The independent Congressional Research Service reported in August that the current plan would certainly cover illegal aliens. Obama and his surrogates have responded with the pregnant milquetoast “nobody is talking about covering illegal aliens.” Sure, and nobody is talking about grilled cheese sandwiches, either, but that doesn’t mean we’re not having them for lunch. The point is, the bill would cover everyone and would not require that healthcare providers check citizenship status. Moreover, Obama’s sleight of hand in the number of uninsured is telling. Prior to last night, the number was always 45 million uninsured. Last night, it was suddenly “over 30 million Americans.” Did 15 million Americans suddenly get healthcare? No, the difference is tens of millions of illegal immigrants. Who’s misleading who, Mr. President?
- Paying for Abortions. Obama also claimed that conservatives have mislead Americans about ObamaCare paying for abortions. This is less clear. Many healthcare plans cover abortion and the purpose of ObamaCare is to provide healthcare to those who cannot afford it. Even if ObamaCare is only a subsidy of private insurance, it would be paying for abortions. But when you get into the weeds, whether or not federal tax dollars will actually be used to pay for abortions is unclear. Calling conservatives liars for saying so is a smear tactic.
So you have Obama, in ostensibly calling for an end to partisan bickering and misrepresentations, flatly lying about the Democratic bill and calling Republicans liars for telling the truth. Certainly a case of Hope·ocrisy if ever there was one.
The Public Option
A profile in courage, Obama was once again noncommittal on the public option. Obama tried to sound reasonable and conciliatory, but again, the premise and the details were not based in fact. His assertion that a public option would only affect 5% of the market is laughable and begs the question, why do we need one?
This was the moment at which Joe Wilson jumped up like a congregant at Reverend Wright’s church, only this time, Obama noticed.
Deficits and Medicare.
The fourth stanza came in three parts, and was a microcosm of the speech: Obama blames Bush for the war in Iraq, tax cuts for the wealthy, large deficits and Wall Street (all in one sentence, no less). He then lies to seniors about Medicare cuts while praising the efficiency of a bankrupt federal program and then flatly contradicts himself and the CBO by saying his $900 billion plan won’t add to the deficit because mythical cost savings will be found.
Do it for Teddy.
Finally, as many people noted, Obama seemed to almost get choked up as he brought up the late Ted Kennedy in an emotional plea for healthcare. Of course, appealing to emotion is necessary; cutting costs by increasing coverage is not logical. At one point, Obama tried to evoke sympathy by conjuring Teddy dealing with his children stricken with illness. Forgive my impertinence, but I don’t think that anyone in America worries that the Kennedy’s might not have good medical care.