Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Obama on Healthcare: 09/09/09

So what did you all think of the Obama speech to the joint session of Congress tonight? I haven't had a chance to watch the entire speech yet, but I've been watching all of the highlighted clips on CNN and I have to say, I was impressed.

It was really time for him to take at least some strong stances rather than sort of letting the chips fall where they may in Congress. I think he did this, particularly in his willingness to address tort reform, a typically republican issue, for the merits it does present, which is that doctors forced to cover themselves are wasting money on unneccessary procedures. It's certainly hard to find the right balance between reform and allowing victims of malpractice a venue for justice, but I do agree that some reforms need to be made in order to drive these costs down. (Side note: in general, I think Americans can be a bit lawsuit crazy on all fronts, but that is a topic for another discussion).

How about South Carolina's Rep. Joe Wilson heckling the President in the middle of his speech? As I said on my twitter page, the only thing classier in such a forum would be if Rep. Wilson had called Obama a poopie-head to boot. I'm glad to see both sides condemned it but come on, Wilson, have some decorum.

I think the best moment in the speech was this:

I think many critics of healthcare reform lose sight of the fact that we are supposed to be one of the most advanced democracies in the world and yet our system fails a huge portion of our citizens, myself included. Regardless of how it gets done, some form of coverage needs to be readily available to those people. Period.

I am also glad to hear that he openly states that he wants to eliminate the ability of insurance companies to exclude based on previous condition, faulty paperwork, etc. I think both sides can agree on that one and if nothing else comes from the reform, I think that will.

I'd like to sum up with this quote from the speech, which I wholeheartedly agree with, especially because the context of the speech is that he was addressing members of Congress. This is a quote regarding the kind of program he'd like to extend to those without insurance:

"As one big group, these customers will have greater leverage to bargain with the insurance companies for better prices and quality coverage. This is how large companies and government employees get insurance. It's how everyone in this Congress gets affordable insurance and it's time to give every American the same opportunity that we give ourselves."

I think I'm just excited to have a President who cares about the fact that I can't afford the medicine that I'm gonna run out of next month.


PredictionsOfMemory said...

The part you included is good public speaking, but he's using examples of health care failures that nobody disagrees with...I mean who's going to argue that someone deserves more cancer?

I thought later parts of the speech did a much better job of addressing the specific concerns of the opposition and getting them into positions where they had to appear to support his proposal, particularly the part where he got the GOP side to give a standing ovation to government-run insurance for those excluded due to pre-existing conditions.

The heckling threw me. I can't recall ever seeing something like that before, but it's kind of like that lively debate I always envied in the UK, which I think helps a bit. Stay classy, South Carolina.

Nicholas said...

It's weird, because the more reasonable and earnest he is, the angrier and more fired up the opposition becomes. Who hears a plea for compassion and fair play and gets pissed?

Katie K said...

Exactly, Nick! my point exactly!

I have a really hard time understanding why people are so opposed to what he's trying to do. Pres. Obama actually wants to work WITH the GOP to come up with the best possible plan he can. I was so disappointed in the GOP response (particularly coming from a doctor), and it's attempt to stall the progress of any health reform, rather than improve upon what Pres. Obama has planned.

Predictions of Memory--I agree that "we all" would say that no one is going argue that people need more cancer, but I think if you listen hard to what people are saying...that is actually what they're saying. The GOP's response to Obama's speech brought up the fact that "simple lifestyle changes" and "prevention" can keep people from needed insurance and medical care. That argument implies (though usually those who tout this opinion outright say it rather than imply it) that people deserve more cancer if they didn't "change their lifestyle" or engage in enough "prevention."

One of the biggest arguments you hear against health care reform is "why should I have to pay for someone else's laziness/poor diet/bad genes/etc." That argument illustrates a common american mentality that people make themselves sick and therefor deserve to be sick and to pay tooth and nail for it when they get sick.

I was proud to have voted for him when Obama brought this up and made it clear that he does not believe that people deserve to be sick and to become poor because of it. I also love that he brought up the sweet "socialized" plan that the Senate and other government officials are privy too. It's easy to take privilege away from someone else, but hard to give it up yourself.