President Obama used his weekly radio address to continue to push, prod, and tug Congress towards passing healthcare reform. He got on his bully pulpit and addressed all of the critics of his plan. Obama said, “I don’t believe that government can or should run health care. But I also don’t think insurance companies should have free reign to do as they please.”
Here is the video:
Obama addressed the scare tactics that are being used in the attempt to derail healthcare reform, “Now we know there are those who will oppose reform no matter what. We know the same special interests and their agents in Congress will make the same old arguments, and use the same scare tactics that have stopped reform before because they profit from this relentless escalation in health care costs. And I know that once you’ve seen enough ads and heard enough people yelling on TV, you might begin to wonder whether there’s a grain of truth to what they’re saying. So let me take a moment to answer a few of their arguments.”
The president defended the cost of reform, “First, the same folks who controlled the White House and Congress for the past eight years as we ran up record deficits will argue – believe it or not – that health reform will lead to record deficits. That’s simply not true. Our proposals cut hundreds of billions of dollars in unnecessary spending and unwarranted giveaways to insurance companies in Medicare and Medicaid. They change incentives so providers will give patients the best care, not just the most expensive care, which will mean big savings over time. And we have urged Congress to include a proposal for a standing commission of doctors and medical experts to oversee cost-saving measures.”
He also reassured people that they will get to pick or keep their doctor, “Those who oppose reform will also tell you that under our plan, you won’t get to choose your doctor – that some bureaucrat will choose for you. That’s also not true. Michelle and I don’t want anyone telling us who our family’s doctor should be – and no one should decide that for you either. Under our proposals, if you like your doctor, you keep your doctor. If you like your current insurance, you keep that insurance. Period, end of story.”
Lastly, Obama spoke about the claim that his plan is socialized medicine, “Finally, opponents of health reform warn that this is all some big plot for socialized medicine or government-run health care with long lines and rationed care. That’s not true either. I don’t believe that government can or should run health care. But I also don’t think insurance companies should have free reign to do as they please.”
I suspect that the president will be repeating these points often until the bill is passed, and he will get a bill passed in some form. The only thing that could stop the passage of a bill would be infighting among Democrats. Obama was correct when he said that these are the same criticisms coming from the same people who prevented healthcare reform last time.
Congressional Democrats need to look at the big picture. This may be their best and only chance for a long time to come to get healthcare passed. They had to wait 15 years between Clinton’s attempt, and Obama’s chance. They need to ask themselves what the healthcare crisis will look like in another 15 years if they blow this chance.