Obama’s Speech on Healthcare Reform

In case you missed it, here is President Obama’s speech on healthcare reform to a joint session of Congress. Watch it above or read the full text here.

15 Responses to Obama’s Speech on Healthcare Reform

  1. Nathan September 10, 2009 at 8:17 am #

    The President was in full campaign mode. This is really a shame because there are issues that need to be dealt with and what we don’t need are campaign promises, but action. Tort Reform, removing Health Insurance from Employer based to citizen based (like Auto-Insurance) so that the Insurance companies will have to deal with individuals, not corporations.

    While the Representative who yelled “that’s a lie” was out of line, the statement is true for anyone who pays attention. This government (not Obama’s, but the US Government) has never ran any business successfully. Social Security, the US Post Office, Medicare, and Medicaid all lose money and are on the brink of disaster and the only reason they still exist is because this government can tax us to keep them afloat.

    Remmber this as well. If this plan is so needed, then why does it not start until 2013? So Obama can get elected to a second term without having its poor results doom his relection. And if there is no need to start it until 2013, then why rush it through; take time, discuss, edit, etc.

    And, if the President wants credibility, then let’s see him fix Medicare before taking on all of us. Congress said in 1965 that Medicare would only cost 3 billion dollars. We are at 17 billion today and counting. How much more for Universal Health? Congress couldn’t run a business at a profit it they had 1 trillion dollars up front.

  2. Brian Krieger September 10, 2009 at 10:31 am #

    Some observations (which mean very little, I know).
    1) Malpractice laws – tort reform, yea! And, as he said, immediate.
    2) “I will not add a plan that adds one dime to our deficit.” I don’t believe it, but I would love to see this. 900 B in 10 years? Again, yea!
    3) He levees the “scare tactics” accusation, but then says at the end of his speech “Our deficit will grow, businesses will go broke, many will die as a result.” It folds in with the false dichotomy that he poses of if-you-are-against-this-reform-you-are-against-any-reform.
    4) Small businesses exempt from covering employees. I think yea.
    5) No federal $ will be used for abortions, conscience clauses will stay in place. Again, yea, I pray he sticks to this.
    6) An interesting stat that he puts out there. “We believe that less than 5% of Americans would sign up.” Isn’t that against the “40 million Americans are uninsured” thing to justify it?
    7) He said we’re skeptical of government. You can remove that skepticism. Ensure that those voting on the system actually abide by that exact same system.
    8) He used social security as an example at the end. Uh, in case no one noticed, social security is going bankrupt.
    9) He mentioned spending cuts if the plan goes into the red. I love the idea of an accountability system.

    I’m not a believer in his system yet, but I sure hope that he sticks with his words. Especially about being open to proposals from moderates (but it seems like that’s just “I’ll listen nicely to you, then do what I want and voila, it’s bi-partisan”. I pray I’m wrong about that).

  3. Derek Taylor September 10, 2009 at 11:29 am #

    I want to see some real action behind the tort reform portion. I am very skeptical as the White House has not announced anything that has teeth.

    I don’t think Obama’s trial lawyer buddies are quaking in their $5,000 alligator skin boots.

  4. Brian Krieger September 10, 2009 at 12:04 pm #

    You know, something that I remember going through back when I was changing jobs was a fear of loss of coverage. I had surgery on one insurance, changed jobs and had rehab covered on another. I believe it was part of HIPAA (not to be confused with the new HIPA). Interim time for insurance to change over was part of COBRA. So much of the speech was directed at “pre-existing conditions”, but it seems like there is already something in place to account for that.

    Derek, you’re right. I got the feeling of “my staff will be looking into that today” as pretty much nothing, but, hey, I really hope he keeps the intent of his word (i.e. it goes beyond “we’re looking at that”).

  5. Nathan September 10, 2009 at 12:06 pm #

    Brian,

    I would echo almost all of your observations, but what the President said IS NOT in the actual bill at the moment. Abortion funding is not explicitly defined and certainly not denied. Death Panels (outside agency that determines what care you get) is in this bill. The Government plan is now back on the table (which will destroy private insurance).
    Tort Reform is not in the current version.

    Needless to say, speeches are just words. Let him show us in the bill where his words are backed up by the actual legislation.

    By the way, 80% of those with health insurance like their insurance. 90% of those is critical care situations think their insurance is good. So, why blow it all up to create something new. This is all about power!

  6. Nathan September 10, 2009 at 12:10 pm #

    Why didn’t the President address the question of why Health Insurance is tied to Employers? If Health Insurance is removed from being Employer-based, Insurance companies would have to compete and they would have to offer more options because they wouldn’t be in bed with corporations. And then the government could remove the state-to-state issues that hinders the health-care arena right now as well.

  7. Brian Krieger September 10, 2009 at 12:39 pm #

    Yea, one thing that struck me as odd was the statement of insurance will be better when they are competing for it. If that is a major tenet, then why not open up interstate insurance? I’m not an expert on the current system, but I’ve heard what you’re saying, Nathan, from several folks.

    BTW, I agree that a speech is just words. I hope he actually keeps the intent of the words and the words themselves (grammar?). I don’t see it happening as the president does appear to be a politician at heart. But hey, we’ll see, right?

  8. Kris September 10, 2009 at 12:46 pm #

    Insurance is not “employer based” it is group based. Group based plans spread the cost over a group and therefore lowers the cost to those who have medical needs.

    The issue is as I see it is not so much insurance companies but the cost of medical procedures.

    If I were a doctor I would be outraged at Obamas constant slaming of doctors and accusing them of recomending uneeded procedures just to put more money in their pockets.

    The best reform would be to incentivise competion in the health industry, NOT a public insurance plan to compete against private insurance.

    The bottom line is the cost savings will not and cannot come from insurance it has to come from cost savings in medical procedures.

    If a plasma tv cost $10,000 6 years ago and can be bought for less than a $1000 now, why can’t medicine and medical procedures come down after there introduced? They don’t! they actually increase.

    I advocate reform, we are just focused on the wrong part of the industry to reform. I also agree with reforming medical liability lawsuits, but only with a loser pays reform. Liability is the only way to keep accountablity and loser pays would significantly lower the fraud cases.

    Thanks for the space to state my opinion, Denny.

    Kris

  9. Barton September 10, 2009 at 2:54 pm #

    Kris,

    As far as the price of medicine and medical procedures, compared to the cost reduction of plasma tv’s, there is an explanation. Medical costs are one of the most inelastic items in our economy.

    Elasticity refers to the change of an items demand in relation to the cost of the item. If you drop the price of a plasma TV, the demand will go up. If you cut the price in half, more than twice as many people will buy plasma tv’s. Therefore, Sony makes a killing off of lowering the price of TV’s.

    The demand for medical supplies is different. Whether medical progression leads to cheaper costs in manufacturing these supplies or not, the demand stays the same. People need pain medication after their surgery whether it is $10 a bottle or $180 a bottle. Therefore, the medical companies would make less money if they lowered the price.

    It’s important to remember, though, that this doesn’t make Sony more generous than your local CVS Pharmacy. Sony only lowers their price because it gains profit. CVS would gain no profit from lowering costs.

    Either way, I beleive that the percentages show the demand for health care/insurance is not only inelastic, but is pretty well taken care of. To risk approval, as well as a second term, on a proposal that you believe only 5% of American’s would sign up for seems to be a little ridiculous to me.

  10. Kris September 11, 2009 at 9:12 am #

    Barton,

    I respectfully disagree that medical procedures do not have the same field to grow in as TV’s.

    Our population grows every year and we are coming to an aging bubble of baby boomers to increase demand for medical procedures.

    I appreciate and understand your side. Thanks for engaging my comment.

    Kris

  11. Nathan September 11, 2009 at 10:14 am #

    Kris,

    I agree with your points, but I think Barton also has some validity to his argument, though I would argue that the cost of malpractice insurance is stifling much of the potential for lower costs. A typical Anistegeoligist pays $200,000 in malpractice. That is a ridiculous amount by any standard.

    Also, Americans want the latest technology when they get scoped or probed and that costs big money. Go look at Plasma televisions. Sure some are down, but the latest technological advances still cost $4000-5000. Same goes for computers, etc. People want the ultra-hi density CT scans today and not just a standard MRI.

    When it comes to health care people want the Mercedes-Benz with everything on it, not a Kia Ria.

  12. Nathan September 11, 2009 at 10:22 am #

    Kris,

    Also, you are right that Insurance is group-based, but typically only Employers can form groups large enough to gain better rates. You and a few of your buddies will not be able to set up a group.

    If insurance companies did not have these groups (employers) to sell to, and the government got out of forcing corporations to offer insurance, then they would have to deal with individuals. Hence, they would be forced to offer more policy options and then costs for individuals would decrease dramatically.

  13. Darius T September 11, 2009 at 11:30 am #

    Hey all, read this: http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200909/health-care

    It is the definitive work on health care reform.

  14. Nathan September 11, 2009 at 12:50 pm #

    I don’t know about definitive Darius. There is an enormous amount of speculative theory in his report. He has some decent offerings, but definitive is not the word I would use. The government is far too involved in his model.

  15. Darius T September 11, 2009 at 1:30 pm #

    Oh, I agree about his solution being a bit questionable. I meant that it’s definitive in identifying the true problems inherent in the current system. Few people get to the heart of the issue like that guy does…

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