Posts Tagged ‘Medicaid’

Live Analysis of President Obama’s Health Care Speech to Congress

September 9, 2009

I know it’s been a while since I’ve done a blog post (other than the one I did yesterday), but I figured this was an important issue to talk about, and I’ll probably be writing a column on health care sometime this week, so this will help me get some ideas down a little early.

President Obama is about to give  a speech to a joint session of Congress, and I’ll be giving my live analysis of his speech.  And this is live, so excuse any typos – I’m not always great at typing quickly.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has just gaveled the session into order, so we’ll begin in about 10 minutes here.

The President’s speech is expected to last about 45 minutes (not including applause), so I’m guessing that it will run close to an hour (maybe a little over) when it’s all done.

Speaker Pelosi has now called the session to order – Vice President Joe Biden by her side.

The Escort Committee is now leaving to follow behind President Obama when he enters the chamber.

Michelle Obama is now arriving.  The Cabinet is now coming into the chamber.

President Obama is now coming into the chamber – and he’s getting a lot of applause (as every President does during these joint sessions).

He’s now up to the podium – Speaker Pelosi is trying to bring the chamber to order.  She is now introducing President Obama.

He’s talking about the last time he spoke here – that it was during the worst economic situation we’ve faced since the Great Depression.  “We are by no means out of the woods … a full recovery is still months away.”  He’s saying that he won’t let up until “those who seek jobs can find them.”

Wow – Hillary Clinton looks out-of-place – she’s wearing this red suit and she’s surrounded by men in black suits.

President Obama is thanking Congress for their help and support in trying to fix America’s economy.  He’s talking about building a future for America, and that health care is central to that future.

“I am not the first President to take up that cause, but I am determined to be the last.”  It’s a nice quote, but there’s always going to have to be reform – things change – nothing will ever be perfect.

He’s talking about Teddy Roosevelt talking about health care reform, and Representative John Dingell (D-MI) introducing a bill every session to reform health care.

Talking about the hardships facing those who are uninsured – not those on welfare, but mostly the middle class.  He’s talking about people being denied insurance because of previous conditions.  “We are the only democracy … the only wealthy nation who allows such hardship for its people.”  But we’re also the democracy who other countries turn to for certain health care needs (such as Canadians needing some quick emergency treatments).

Talking about insurance companies dropping patients in the middle of treatment for bogus reasons such as having acne and not claiming it – and I’ll agree with him here – that’s a problem that SHOULD be addressed.

Talking about insurance premiums going up, and leading to businesses not being able to open/survive because of health care costs.

It’s “placing an unsustainable burden on taxpayers. … We will eventually be spending more on Medicare and Medicaid than every other program combined.”  Again – he’s right here – Medicare/Medicaid costs are getting out of control – it’s just the solution where I disagree with him.

Talking about a single payer system like Canada’s or a plan that individuals should buy their own health care, but both of these are radical shifts that would disrupt the health care system.  He’s saying we should use what works as a template and fix the problems in our current system, rather than switch to a Canadian-style system or a completely individual style system.

He’s now talking about the 5 committees coming up with health care bills in Congress – an amount of reform that has been unprecedented in history – and again – this is a good thing – if we have multiple ideas, we have more to choose from and more discussion going around.

Now he’s talking about opponents to reform using scare tactics and just trying to score political points.  “The time for bickering is over.  The time for games has passed.”  Games and bickering are part of the American political system – it’s a sad fact, but it’s true.  And both parties do it, but getting into a “Well the other party did __________” kind of mentality is bad for America.

“If you already have insurance … nothing in this plan will require you to change what you have. … What this plan will do is make this insurance that you have work better for you.”  It’ll make it illegal for insurance companies to deny you based on a preexisting condition.  And that got a LOT of applause.  It will be illegal for them to drop you when you get sick.

“No one should go broke because they get sick. … Insurance companies will be required … to cover routine check ups … and preventative care. … It saves money and it saves lives.”  And that was all for people who already have insurance.

For those who don’t, this plan will give you an opportunity to get quality insurance.  “We’ll do this by creating a new business exchange.”  Insurance companies will want this because it gives them more customers.

And for those who still can’t afford insurance, tax credits will be provided.  The exchange will take effect in 4 years.

He’s talking about immediate relief for those who get sick before then, citing a plan that Senator McCain proposed during the plan during the 2008 campaign – and Senator McCain just got a huge grin on his face.

He’s saying that some people may not want to pay for insurance, but when they get sick, we wind up paying for their health care when they wind up in the hospital.  “Under my plan, people will be required to carry basic health insurance” just like states require people to have basic auto insurance.

And this is where I disagree with the President.  Personally, I don’t think we should be forcing people to buy insurance; however, I also don’t think that we should then be paying for their hospital visits.  If someone decides not to get insurance, and they get sick, then we shouldn’t be footing the bill – they should just have to pay for treatment themselves or not get it.

Now, moving on to “key controversies that are still out there:”

  • Saying that there won’t be plans to try to kill off the elderly who are sick.
  • No money will go toward illegal immigrants. – and somebody just shouted “Lie!” and Speaker Pelosi gave him a stare of death – whoever it was, that was pretty unprofessional and immature.
  • No money will go toward funding abortions.
  • This will not be a takeover of the entire health care system.

These are all good points, and I’d encourage EVERYBODY to read the bill that finally gets introduced instead of just listening to either the Democrats’ talking points or the Republicans’ talking points.

“Consumers do better when there’s choice and competition.”  And he’s absolutely right about that – but instead of setting up a government program to do this, we should open insurance markets to cross state lines, so that companies can compete nationwide, adding more competition all over the nation.

He’s saying that he doesn’t want to drive insurance companies out of business, just hold them accountable.

He’s saying that he would like a non-profit public option (which that surprised me that he still pushed for that – I figured that he wasn’t going to try to push that tonight).  It would be an option for those who don’t have insurance, and people wouldn’t be forced to chose it.  He estimates that less than 5% of Americans would sign up.  He’s saying that this public option wouldn’t be funded by the government, but would have to be self sufficient.

But what would happen if it stopped being self sufficient?  Would it essentially turn into a Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac?

He’s saying that some are suggesting that the public option only go into effect where insurance companies aren’t competing well, or that we have a private co-op instead.  Saying that he won’t back down from giving a choice to people who can’t afford health care.

And the screen just panned over to the Republican section and they really do not look happy about this.

“Now he’s talking about how we’ll pay for the plan – “I will not sign a plan that adds one dime to our deficit – either now, or in the future. … Period.”  He’s saying that in his plan, there will be a section that will require spending cuts if the means of saving money aren’t there.  He’s now talking about the past administration making a mistake in passing tax cuts that we couldn’t afford as well as the Iraq War.

And while he does have an excellent point with the Iraq War part (which is a whole separate issue), I don’t think that that jab at the Bush Administration is going to help win any Republicans over – and with Senator Kennedy gone, they’re going to need an additional Republican vote in the Senate.  That was a bad strategic move on the President’s part.

Talking about ensuring that Medicare will be there for future generations.  Saying that seniors pay too much out-of-pocket for prescription drugs.  Saying not to pay attention to “scary stories that your benefits will be cut.”  GOP members don’t look happy.  “I will protect Medicare.”

“Making [Medicare] more efficient will [help make] the entire system more efficient.”  Saying that if we reduce waste in Medicare and Medicaid, that will pay for his plan.  Well why don’t we just reduce waste in Medicare and Medicaid anyway!  Why do you need to add one “good” thing to get rid of one bad thing?  Why not just cut waste out of M&M whether or not the other health care reforms pass or not.

Talking about malpractice reform bringing down costs of health care – and all the GOP members stood up and started cheering – even Biden stood up for that one.  Saying that we need to put safety first and let doctors focus on practicing medicine.  Saying that the Bush Administration wanted to test some of these ideas in individual states, and he likes that plan too.  So now he’s playing to the Republican side a bit – which is good because he’s going to need to do that if he wants this to pass the Senate.

Now talking about it’ll cost $900 billion over the next 10 years, but that’s less than the Iraq War…and I think he said something about the Bush tax cuts – I didn’t catch it.  Whatever it was, the Dems liked it, but the Repubs looked pretty pissed off – Rep. Thad McCotter (R-MI) really didn’t like whatever was said.

Saying he won’t stand by as the special interest groups fight to keep things the way they are.  “I will not accept the status quo as the solution.”  And he’s right – we DO need reform – I just disagree with him on the type of reform we need.

Talking about reforms leading to saving lives.

“We cannot fail … there are too many Americans counting on us to succeed.”

Talking about the late Senator Kennedy (D-MA) on his death bed talking about this year being the year that health care reform will be passed.

Health care reform has been a source of “rigorous and intense debate”.

Obama’s talking about Senators Hatch (R-UT) and McCain (R-AZ) and Grassley (R-IA) working with Senator Kennedy.  That his p”assion was born out of his own experience … having 2 children stricken with cancer.”  He’s saying that “concern for others … is not a partisan” issue.  “We are all in this together, and when fortune turns against us, others are there to give us a helping hand. … Sometimes government has to step in.”

Saying that Republicans and Democrats joined together in 1965 when they created Medicare.

“When any efforts to help people in need are attacked as unAmerican … and we can no longer engage in a civil conversation” … I missed that last part.  Whatever his point was (I’m sure it was something about engaging in civil debate) – I agree here – we need to discuss it, not try to drown one side out.

“I still believe we can act when it’s hard.”  Saying we need to have “civility” and not gridlock the process but make progress.

“I still believe we can do great things, and that here and now we will meet history’s test.  Because that is who we are.  That is our calling.  That is our character.  Thank you, God Bless You, and may God Bless the United States of America.”

Now the Republican response by Representative Charles Boustany (R-LA):

Republicans are ready for reform.  We’ve lost jobs since February.  “Americans want health care reform … [They're saying] it’s time to start over with a … bipartisan plan.”

He’s saying that Obama’s plan will cost Americans more – that even the Congressional Budget Office agrees – it’ll create 53 new bureaus and raise the deficit.  It won’t make the program better for seniors.

“The President [could have] taken government run health care off the table, but he didn’t.”

Americans should be able to get insurance with preexisting conditions.  We should give incentives for healthy choices and preventative care.

“We’re grateful that the President mentioned medical liability reform.”  “Junk lawsuits drive up the cost of medical care.”

We should establish a plan that would enable people to buy insurance across state lines – and that was one of McCain’s big pushes during the ’08 campaign that I really agreed with.

“This Congress can pass meaningful reform soon … working together in a bipartisan way, we can lower the cost of health care.”

Alright – I wasn’t able to catch that much of the response because there weren’t any pauses in that speech, but it was basically the same thing that McCain said during his Presidential campaign.

Overall, I think the President did a moderately good job.  I wish he would’ve gone into detail a little more than he did, and there are some things that I definitely disagree with, but there were some good points:

Malpractice/tort reform is a huge part of the plan that will help lower costs of health care.  Eliminating waste in Medicaid and Medicare is another great thing that we need to do.  Ensuring a way that people can keep their coverage even when they get sick is another necessity that almost everybody agrees with.

I disagree with the public option, and I disagree with forcing people to have some sort of insurance plan.

I wish that he would consider adopting the plan to allow people to cross state borders to purchase health care plans.

Overall, it was a good speech, but I think he took a couple too many jabs at Republicans and the Bush administration (he’s going to need some Republicans’ votes, and that wasn’t a way to win them over).  I also wish he would’ve had more details of his plan, but with only having 45 minutes, that’s hard to do.

I’m not sold on the President’s plan, but I do think there are some good parts of the plan that I’d like to see develop.

We’ll see what’s introduced and what Congress does with the bill(s).

Done Analyzing,

Ranting Republican

Hillary Clinton: “I will be making no decisions tonight” on Quitting the Race

June 4, 2008

So, I’ve already analyzed Obama’s speech which was given shortly after Clinton’s following speech.  She had been expected to suspend her campaign and acknowledge that Obama had reached the “magic number,” but not actually concede, but she didn’t even do that.  She just said, “I’ll talk it over and decide later” essentially.  Here’s the speech:

Thank you. Thank you so much. Thank you all so much. Thank you, and thanks so much to South Dakota. You had the last word in this primary season, and it was worth the wait.

Actually, Montana did because they voted later, but I won’t nit pick.

I want to start tonight by congratulating Senator Obama and his supporters on the extraordinary race that they have run.

Senator Obama has inspired so many Americans to care about politics and empowered so many more to get involved. And our party and our democracy is stronger and more vibrant as a result. So we are grateful.

Your party may be stronger because of him, but it’s a whole lot weaker because of you.

And it has been an honor to contest these primaries with him, just as it is an honor to call him my friend. And, tonight, I would like all of us to take a moment to recognize him and his supporters for all they have accomplished.

You mean winning the primary series?

Now, 16 months ago, you and I began a journey to make history and to remake America. And from the hills of New Hampshire to the hollows of West Virginia and Kentucky, from the fields of California to the factories of Ohio, from the Alleghenies to the Ozarks to the Everglades, to right here in the great state of New York, we…

We saw millions of Americans registering to vote for the first time, raising money for the first time, knocking on doors, making calls, talking to their friends and neighbors, mothers and fathers lifting their little girls and their little boys onto their shoulders and whispering, “See, you can be anything you want to be.”

OK, I have to point out – most of those newly registered voters were because of Obama.

And I think, too, of all those…

all those wonderful women in their 90s who came out to see me, because they were born before women could vote, and they wanted to be part of making history, and the people who drove for miles, who waved their handmade signs, who went to all the events that we held, who came to HillaryClinton.com and showed the tangible support that they felt in their hearts.

And I am just enormously grateful, because, in the millions of question: Who will be the strongest candidate and the strongest…

Who will be ready to take back the White House and take charge as commander-in-chief and lead our country to better tomorrows?

BILLARY WILL!  Oh, what’s that?  You’re NOT going to let Bill sleep in the White House?  Just Hillary?  Not Billary!

People in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the territories, all had a chance to make your voices heard. And on election day after election day, you came out in record numbers to cast your ballots. Nearly 18 million of you cast your votes…

… for our campaign, carrying the popular vote with more votes than any primary candidate in history.

OK, well when’s the last time that a campaign season lasted this long?

Even when the pundits and the naysayers proclaimed week after week that this race was over, you kept on voting. You’re the nurse on the second shift, the worker on the line, the waitress on her feet, the small business owner, the farmer, the teacher, the miner, the trucker, the soldier, the veteran, the student, the hard-working men and women who don’t always make the headlines, but have always written America’s story.

Well, those naysayers and pundits were… RIGHT.

You have voted because you wanted to take back the White House. And because of you…

… we won, together, the swing states necessary to get to 270 electoral votes.

OK, you’re not the nominee.  You know this right?  Could somebody tell the lady in the pants suit that she LOST!?

And you know…

Yes, she will! Yes, she will! Yes, she will! Yes, she will! Yes, she will! Yes, she will!

In all of the states, you voted because you wanted a leader who will stand up for the deepest values of our party, a party that believes everyone should have a fair shot at the American dream, a party that cherishes every child, values every family, and counts every single vote.

And what, the Republicans don’t count every single vote?

I often felt that each of your votes was a prayer for our nation, a declaration of your dreams for your children, a reflection of your desire to chart a new course in this new century. And, in the end, while this primary was long, I am so proud we stayed the course together.

That would be one sacrilegious prayer.

Because we stood our ground, it meant that every single United States citizen had a chance to make his or her voice heard. A record 35 million people voted in this primary…

And that’s good – I AM happy that we had such great voter turnout.

… from every state, red, blue, purple, people of every age, faith, color, and walk of life. And we have brought so many people into the Democratic Party and created enthusiasm among those we seek to serve.

But we’ll see how many actually stay.

And I am committed to uniting our party so we move forward stronger and more ready than ever to take back the White House this November.

You know, for the past seven years, so many people in this country have felt invisible, like your president didn’t even really see you. I have seen the shuttered factories, the jobs shipped overseas, the families struggling to afford gas and groceries.

But I’ve also seen unions re-training workers to build energy- efficient buildings, innovators designing cars that run on fuel cells and biofuels and electricity, cars that get more miles per gallon than ever before, cars that will cut the cost of driving, reduce our reliance on foreign oil, and fight global warming.

And McCain advocates for the same things, just not with the greedy unions going on strike whenever they want a new candy bar machine in the lounge.

I have met too many people without health care, just a diagnosis away from financial ruin. But I’ve also seen the scientists and researchers solving the medical mysteries and finding the treatments and cures that are transforming lives.

Again - McCain has a GREAT health care plan that would allow people to cross state lines to get insurance.

I’ve seen the struggling schools with the crumbling classrooms and the unfair burdens imposed by No Child Left Behind. But I have also met dedicated and caring teachers who use their own savings to buy supplies and students passionately engaged in the issues of our time, from ending the genocide in Darfur to once again making the environment a central issue of our day.

Nobody likes No Child Left Behind – it was a great idea with TERRIBLE implimentation.

None of you, none of you is invisible to me. You never have been.

I see you, and I know how hard-working you are. I’ve been fighting for you my whole adult life, and I will keep standing for you and working for you every single day.

Because in your courage and character, your energy and ingenuity, your compassion and faith, I see the promise of America every day. The challenges we face are great, but our determination is greater.

You know, I understand that that a lot of people are asking, “What does Hillary want? What does she want?”

Well, I want what I have always fought for in this whole campaign. I want to end the war in Iraq.

We ALL want to end it!  It’s not like McCain or Bush enjoy our troops being over there.

I want to turn this economy around. I want health care for every American. I want every child to live up to his or her God-given potential. And I want the nearly 18 million Americans who voted for me to be respected, to be heard, and no longer to be invisible.

Well, going on campaigning and splitting the party certainly isn’t going to help make them be heard.

You see, I have an old-fashioned notion, one that’s been the basis of my candidacy and my life’s work, that public service is about helping people solve their problems and live their own dreams. This nation has given me every opportunity, and that’s what I want for every single American.

That’s why I want universal health care. It is wrong…

… that Americans pay 50 percent more for health care than the people of any other wealthy nation, with costs doubling this decade, and nearly 50 million people without any health insurance at all.

So use McCain’s plan, which encourages competition.  And when companies compete, the consumer wins!

It is wrong for parents to have to choose between care for themselves or their children, to be stuck in dead-end jobs just to keep their insurance, or to give up working altogether so their kids will qualify for Medicaid.

I’ve been working on this issue not just for the past 16 months, but for 16 years. And it is a fight…

It is a fight I will continue until every single American has health insurance, no exceptions and no excuses.

I want an economy that works for all families. That’s why I’ve been fighting to create millions of new jobs in clean energy and rebuilding our infrastructure, jobs to come to all of our states, and urban and rural areas, and suburban communities and small towns.

And McCain is an advocate for clean energy and clean energy jobs too.

And that’s why I sounded the alarm on the home mortgage crisis well over a year ago…

And the way you solve it is by an economic stimulus plan that rewards people for making stupid financial decisions!?

… because these are the issues that will determine whether we will once again grow together as a nation or continue to grow apart.

And I want to restore America’s leadership in the world. I want us to be led once again by the power of our values, to have a foreign policy that is both strong and smart, to join with our allies and confront our shared challenges, from poverty and genocide to global terrorism and global warming.

These are the issues that brought me into this race. They are the lifeblood of my campaign. And they have been and will continue to be the causes of my life. And your spirit…

… your spirit has inspired me every day in this race. While I traveled our country, talking about how I wanted to help you, time and again you reached out to help me, to grab my hand or grip my arm, to look into my eyes and tell me, “Don’t quit. Keep fighting. Stay in this race.”

Now, there were days…

… when I had the strength — there were the days when I had the strength enough to fight for all of us. And on the days that I didn’t, I leaned on you, the soldier on his third tour of duty in Iraq who told his wife, an Iraqi veteran herself, to take his spending money and donate it to our campaign instead…

Well, that was some wasted money.

… the 11-year-old boy in Kentucky, who sold his bike and video games to raise money for our campaign, the woman who came to a rally hours early, waited and waited to give me a rosary, and all those who whispered to me, simply to say, “I am praying for you.”

So many people said this race was over five months ago in Iowa, but we had faith in each other. And you brought me back in New Hampshire, and on Super Tuesday, and in Ohio, and in Pennsylvania, and Texas, and Indiana, West Virginia, Kentucky, Puerto Rico, and South Dakota.

I will carry your stories and your dreams with me every day for the rest of my life.

Now, the question is: Where do we go from here? And given how far we’ve come and where we need to go as a party, it’s a question I don’t take lightly. This has been a long campaign, and I will be making no decisions tonight.

But this has always been your campaign. So, to the 18 million people who voted for me, and to our many other supporters out there of all ages, I want to hear from you. I hope you’ll go to my Web site at HillaryClinton.com and share your thoughts with me and help in any way that you can.

And in the coming days, I’ll be consulting with supporters and party leaders to determine how to move forward with the best interests of our party and our country guiding my way.

This means she’s taking it to the convention floor.

And I want…

I want to conclude tonight by saying, “Thank you.” Thank you to the people across America for welcoming me and my family into your homes and your hearts.

Thanks to all of you in every corner of this country who cast your votes for our campaign. I am honored and humbled by your support and your trust.

Thanks to my staff and volunteers for all those long hours and late nights.

And I thank your families and your loved ones, as well, because your sacrifice was theirs.

And I especially want to thank all of the leadership of my campaign, our chairman, Terry McAuliffe, and everyone who worked so hard.

And, of course, my family, for their incredible love, support, and work, Bill and Chelsea…

… Hugh and Maria, Tony and Megan, Zach and Fiona, and my mother, who turns 89 tomorrow.

And, finally, I want to thank all of the people who had the courage to share your stories with me out on the campaign trail.

Tonight, I am thinking of a woman I met just yesterday in Rapid City, South Dakota. We were outside Tally’s Restaurant. There was a crowd there as I was walking into the restaurant, and she was standing right up against the barrier.

She grabbed my hand, and she said, “What are you going to do to make sure I have health care?” And as she was talking, she began to cry. She told me she works three jobs; she has suffered from seizures since childhood; she hasn’t been able to afford insurance ever since she left her parents’ home.

It is shameful that anyone in this country could tell that story to me.

And whatever path I travel next, I promise I will keep faith with her and with everyone I met across this great and good country.

You know, tonight, we stand just a few miles from the Statue of Liberty and from the site where the Twin Towers fell and where America rose again.

Lady Liberty’s presence and the towers’ absence are a constant reminder that here in America we are resilient, we are courageous, we embrace all of our people, and that, when we face our challenges together, there is no barrier we can’t overcome, no dream we can’t realize, nothing we can’t do if we just start acting like Americans again.

Thank you all very much. God bless you, and God bless America.

So, there you have it – she’s still in it.  And I think she’ll take it to the convention.  I’ve said that she will, and I think this speech confirms it.  Come on Hillary, give McCain the win – I’m to busy to campaign for him, so do it for me!

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican
add to del.icio.us :: Add to Blinkslist :: add to furl :: add to ma.gnolia :: Stumble It! ::


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 287 other followers

%d bloggers like this: