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The Hard Sell Begins

By Dan Balz
President Obama had two audiences in mind throughout his prime-time news conference Wednesday night: Americans who are increasingly skeptical about his effort to reform the health care system and members of Congress looking for guidance as they near politically difficult votes on such a package.

For the public, Obama needed to allay fears that the unknown is worse than the status quo in the hope that they will rally behind reform. For those in Congress, particularly his fellow Democrats, Obama needed to make the case that the failure to act on health care will be politically more risky than acting.

In the past two weeks, as the health-care debate has intensified, the president has felt growing pressure from two directions. Public polls have shown declining confidence in his performance in the health care fight, which in turn has caused more nervousness in Congress. On Capitol Hill, he has been urged to get more directly involved in helping to develop a consensus, rather than leaving the sausage-making, and the tough choices, to Congress. Obama scheduled his news conference as a way to answer his critics and reassure the public.

Much of the session was a tutorial by the president that included long answers to some fairly pointed questions. The length of those answers highlighted the complexities of the problem and underscored how difficult it is to explain in simple terms what it will take to provide nearly every American with health insurance and, at the same time, constrain medical care inflation so that an expanded system doesn't bust the budget.

Obama tried to portray health-care reform in the rosiest possible terms--better care at less cost. That is a tall order and one that slides too easily past the problems any overhaul of this size and scope inevitably will bring. His more compelling argument may have been to describe what he said are the consequences of inaction: higher costs, bigger deficits, and more people losing their insurance. It is that reality that has produced a climate for action this year that has been, until now, far more favorable than in the past.

Obama was characteristically defiant in the face of critics who doubt that he will be successful, continuing the posture he has taken since returning from his overseas trip earlier this month. "We will pass reform that lowers cost, promotes choice and provides coverage that every American can count on, and we will do it this year," he declared in his opening statement.

At the same time, he was conscious of shifting public opinion and also respectful of the concerns that many Americans have about whether they'll be better or worse off under a new system. "Folks are skeptical," he said. "And that is entirely legitimate because they haven't seen a lot of laws coming out of Washington lately that helped them."

The president, however, was also uncharacteristically defensive Wednesday night. He was clearly mindful that he has hit a rough patch exactly six months into his presidency and felt the need to justify what his administration has done to deal with a set of monumental problems. He recounted the economic and budgetary problems he inherited and the steps his administration has taken to stabilize the financial industry and enact a stimulus package. He repeated his claim that the administration has reduced the 10-year projected deficit by $2.2 trillion, a figure that has been debunked by many budget experts.

A new poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation, released Thursday morning, illustrated exactly what Obama was talking about. "Criticisms and doubts seem to be registering," said the release accompanying the poll.

Fifty-six percent said reform is more important than ever and more Americans think they will be better off, rather than worse off, if Congress passes a bill. But more Americans said they fear Congress and Obama will enact legislation that is bad for their family than said they are worried that Congress won't act this year.

The real test of the president's leadership will continue to be how well he can push Congress toward consensus. On Wednesday, he began to provide some clarity--or perhaps reinforced with stronger language the direction he has been pointing toward throughout this debate. In one case, he leaned left, in the other he leaned right, a conscious recognition of the fissures within the Democratic coalition that have cast doubt on the ability of Congress to pass a bill.

He was explicit, again, in resisting any taxes on the middle class to pay for the cost of reform. He tried again to promote his idea of limiting the value of charitable deductions for the wealthiest Americans, an idea that has met significant resistance in Congress. But, notably, he gave a tentative endorsement to the approach liberal House leaders are taking, which is to add a surcharge on the income taxes of wealthy Americans.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi verbally amended the House bill earlier this week in an interview with Politico, saying she would like to see the threshold for triggering the surcharge raised to families with incomes of $1 million or more. Obama said, "To me, that meets my principle that it's not being shouldered by families who are already having a tough time."

He has continued to resist proposals that would significant limit the tax exclusion on employer-paid health insurance. But did he leave the door open a bit for some form of that revenue-raiser, which the Senate Finance Committee has been examining? Here's what he said: "While they're currently working through proposals to finance the remaining costs, I continue to insist that health reform not be paid for on the backs of middle-class families."

Obama was even more explicit about health care reform and the deficit. "I've also pledged that health insurance reform will not add to our deficit over the next decade, and I mean it," he said. "In the past eight years, we saw the enactment of two tax cuts -- primarily for the wealthiest Americans -- and a Medicare prescription program, none of which were paid for. That's partly why I inherited a $1.3 trillion deficit. That will not happen with health insurance reform. It will be paid for."


That was another warning to Congress--and a nod to moderate Democrats and those few Republicans still engaged in negotiations in the Senate. Obama has seen the tendency of Congress to slip away from this requirement of not adding to the deficit. He knows Congress will take the path of least resistance on deficit questions, even in the name of deficit reduction.

Obama has now made it as explicit as he can that health reform must include meaningful cost containment, saying he will not sign a bill that doesn't work. Will he, in the end, hold to that line?

The president will need a sustained public campaign of rhetoric and persuasion to prevent public opinion from sliding farther in the coming weeks and perhaps months of this battle. He will continue to make the public case for health care reform Thursday when he travels to the Cleveland Clinic. As he's done on most days the past two weeks, he will be looking for ways to use the bully pulpit to counteract the growing assertiveness of his Republican critics that no reform is better than what Congress may be brewing.

But he will need to do more as well to push the process forward in Congress. Right now, it's not clear where he is placing his real bets. Is it with the Senate Finance Committee bill that is not yet fully formed but that holds out the possibility of some semblance of bipartisanship? Or will it be with a Democrats-only strategy that forces a bill through with a bare majority, using in the Senate the reconciliation process that would amount to a declaration of war with the Republicans?

Obama wants success above everything else. But he has now begun to put down some more explicit markers about what constitutes success. The question is whether, through public advocacy and legislative diplomacy, he can now pull off a victory that has eluded so many other presidents.

By Washington Post Editor  |  July 23, 2009; 8:54 AM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency , Dan Balz's Take , Health Care  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: On Health Care, Obama Tries to Make Policies Personal
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Comments

When Obama and the Gov. fixes Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Budget, etc. Then I might consider another Gov. boondoggle.

Posted by: donaldshu | July 26, 2009 9:23 AM | Report abuse

More delays will give more Senators and more Representatives time to get on board the Insurance Corporation Money Train before it leaves Washington D.C.
If a public plan doesn't happen this year it never will.

I used to be extremely doubtful of the intelligence and wisdom of the average American, then Obama became president.
For a time I honestly believed there was an awakening in people's ability to reason, to be able to see truly without bias or hatred clouding their minds.

But now I hear people muttering the same old epithets and it seems to me America is headed for a future more enslaved than it were in the past.
Now we obey our corporate masters without questioning.
We believe their lies and enslave ourselves.

Posted by: seemstome | July 24, 2009 10:52 PM | Report abuse

I will give President Obama the kudo's when he is right. President Obama is right when he is trying to overhaul healthcare. I lost my sister to Cancer last year and today most hospital and private care insurances treat people with those types of illiness including HIV very badly. My family basically had to lie to the insurance company about ailments in her condition, for them to cover her for certain procedures.

Posted by: mattadamsdietmanager1014 | July 24, 2009 11:12 AM | Report abuse

"Now is the time to capture the opportunity of finally winning the fight. We must strike the knockout blow now and finally win. Do it Now!

Posted by: kg4thepeople"

What fight have you cowards deluded yourselves to be fighting. Would you traitors be game for a little game of civil war? If you idiots would stop playing tic tac toe with each other and play a game where one actually wins, you might not be the bunch of losers that you are trying to bring the Country down with you.

This has got to be the most desperate and pathetic post by the party of liars and losers.
"Support Obama-- your life and well being depend on his success.

Posted by: Pragmatist2"

Posted by: RobLACa | July 24, 2009 12:55 AM | Report abuse

mstratas,

OBAMA IS A WANABE DICTATOR. Too bad not everyone has the ability to see right through the SOS. You are a good little brain dead egor. Yes master! Anything for you master!

Democrats are criminal frauds period. That is why they are incompetent , have not a clue how to run anything and must blame Republicans for their failures. Some of you dummies are such idiots to continue to cry about Republicans when they have absolutely nothing to do with DUMBO'S FAILURE.

It is clear to see how many minds have been molested throughout the years by democrat propaganda. They are liars and complete frauds. They prove it themselves every single day. All you need to do is pay attention.

Posted by: RobLACa | July 24, 2009 12:36 AM | Report abuse

Obama already sounds like a used car salesman, and if he got any whinier he could stand in for Billy Mays infomercials. Once credibility strains, it becomes the same baloney over and over again.

Posted by: rich15 | July 24, 2009 12:03 AM | Report abuse

For me, anything short of specifics -

I.E. "There will NOT be a Mandatory Insurance clause", and

"If you are unhappy with the Government Plan, you will be able to Opt Out at any time", and

"It will be designed to stay within the same cost playing field as private plans to prevent crushing competition"

is NOT ENOUGH INFORMATION to even consider gambling with our healthcare system.

Posted by: jstop88 | July 23, 2009 10:51 PM | Report abuse

The other problem is Obama does not have a plan to push. Neither house has gotten anything out of committee. All that bribe money is having an effect. Look for extra high rate increases when you renew your coverage. If you can afford to renew.

Posted by: seemstome | July 23, 2009 9:55 PM | Report abuse

The problem is that Obama has no Balz. If he did he would have been more forceful in his health care delivery and remained aloof when questioned about Gates.

Posted by: seemstome | July 23, 2009 9:49 PM | Report abuse

Obama gave us the hard sell with his stimulous package. He told us it would keep unemployment under 8% and rebuild our infrastructure. What did we get? Unemployment at 9.5% going to 14 or 15%! AIG Bonus Gurantees! A gamblers train from L.A. to Vegas, but not in time to create any jobs. Endless corruption with every democratic interest group that ever existed filling its pockets. More debt and printed money than in the history of the country. Democrats have complete control of the Government, but Obama spent his time Wed night whining about powerless Republicans. He lied outright about reducing the deficit over 10 years, and he didn't answer any questions about Health Care. No, I take that back it was very clear that he and his family and Congress won't be having any part of his Public Option. Who wants to sign up for a plan that Obama refused to provide for his family? Hard sell! Its call ropa-a-dope folks....and its the Chicago Way!

Posted by: valwayne | July 23, 2009 9:41 PM | Report abuse

WHY DID HE HOLD A PRESS CONFERENCE ON JULY 22?

It takes him forever to say NOTHING!

I, for one, am being reminded -- too often -- that I made a bad mistake on November 4, 2008.

At what point in time will he start leveling with his constituents?

WHO?
WHAT?
WHEN?
WHERE?
WHY?
and HOW MUCH?

If he has not read the bills being proposed, why is he pushing something he 'knows nothing about'?

He is adding to the cynical attitude of the public.

...AND LOOK!! He is now embroiled in the Gates case WHEN HE SHOULD HAVE KEPT HIS MOUTH SHUT!! He is now behaving like a very young novice!!

Posted by: wheeljc | July 23, 2009 8:34 PM | Report abuse

I am astonished at some of the posts I read here. I cannot imagine what has happened to a nation that elects a man to the presidency who seeks to murder the elderly in order to save money. It is even more difficult to fathom that, apparently, some who are citizens in this nation agree that this murder is acceptable, even desirable. I think that the backers of this heinous scheme have been overcome by a malevolent spell and are not thinking clearly. Listen to what you are saying! Do you seek to build a nation of monsters?

Posted by: KATZ66 | July 23, 2009 8:30 PM | Report abuse

Obongo health care?
INSANITY!!!

Free health care for 20 million illegal immigrants--
Medical rationing--
Taxpayer-paid abortions on demand--
Euthanasia for any elderly who need major medical procedures--
Total government control of every facet of life from birth to death--

LONG LIVE, OBONGO--FUHRER, IL DUCE, HNIC...

Posted by: flyingcow | July 23, 2009 6:25 PM | Report abuse

There are times when real debate should take place. Too bad we didn't have real debate before bush rushed us into the stupid war in Iraq. But the health care mess has been going on for decades. It's obvious that the republicans and their bosses in the health care industry don't want to pass anything that would help the American people because it would make Obama look good and interfere with their profits. Republicans haven't contributed anything. They just sit on their hands and gripe like the pathetic old farts they are. That's not leadership. I'd rather see leaders like Obama try to make things better then watch a bunch of impotent republicans whine like two year olds that "this is too hard, lets procrastinate some more". I use to think that the only completely useless things in life were gnats and mosquitos. I have to add republicans to the top of that list. I'm ashamed to admit that I was once republican (but I got better)

I run a small business and have had to keep staff at a minimum because of the cost of providing health care to my employees. It rises 30% every year. Even though there has been virtually no inflation anywhere else. I'd be happy to pay more in taxes for a better more stable health system because I'm pretty sure my costs would be less in the long run. We need a government run health care alternative or price controls because it would make private health insurers more realistic and be the best thing for small business like mine and even large business. We could then hire more people without being at the mercy of health insurers.

Posted by: Pragmatist2 | July 23, 2009 5:17 PM | Report abuse

I guess it's too much to ask of Obama lovers that we stop comparing Obama's plan to "doing nothing." Very few people want to do nothing. So we should not jump at the first proposal from Obama, which is very heavy handed government. Would it be too much to ask that the people and politicians debate individual bills without feeling like they MUST approve a 1,200 page bill they haven't read in the dead of night, in order to save Obama?

Truly, what is more important here: Obama's reputation or our long term health?

Posted by: josephpturner | July 23, 2009 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Health care reform will happen (despite the useless no idea republicans). The economy is coming back nicely with the stock market and home sales starting to rebound. 401k's are looking much better. The country is getting strong again after all those horrible years of bush rule. Kudos to Obama. A brilliant man in an impossible job.

Posted by: Pragmatist2 | July 23, 2009 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Fool me once (stimulus "package"), shame on you, Fool me twice (trying to ram through a health-care "plan" that will cost more [Congressional Budget Office] and limit my choices), shame on me.

No, "we won't be fooled again."

Posted by: SickandTired2 | July 23, 2009 3:58 PM | Report abuse

WOO HOO! Obama loses this battle. Dingy Harry Reid just announced the heathcare vote will NOT happen before August recess!

Posted by: JakeD | July 23, 2009 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Has Sen. Crissy Dodd (D - CT) refinanced his Countrywide loan ?

Posted by: hclark1 | July 23, 2009 2:49 PM | Report abuse

I just received the latest extortion note from my health provider, "Care First" (or "Couldn't Care Less" as we like to call them). For the third year in a row another 30% rise in my payments while covering less. My wife and I are healthy and seldom need a doctor yet we're continually raped by Care First. The health care industry mafia are the enemy folks, not the president. They own (bought and paid for) most of the republicans and are now trying to scare the many dim witted Americans with lies and false information. The truth is that the system we currently have is among the worst in the world. There is so much wasted money and terrible care it boggles the mind. Our existing system is so bad, reform could only make it better.

Americans better wise up and support Obama's sincere efforts to make health care better and cheaper or only the very wealthy will be able to afford it. With the current system, every year you're paying more and getting less. If you care about your health and the health of your children you better get on the health reform bandwagon.

Don't let the lobbyist owned republicans slowly diminish the quality of your healthcare while making themselves richer and you poorer. Support Obama-- your life and well being depend on his success.

Posted by: Pragmatist2 | July 23, 2009 2:06 PM | Report abuse


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The health care reform legislation working its way through Congress has lost support over the past month. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey shows that 44% of U.S. voters are at least somewhat in favor of the reform effort while 53% are at least somewhat opposed.

Today’s 44% level of support is down from 46% two weeks ago, and 50% in late June.

Opposition has grown from 45% in late June to 49% two weeks ago and 53% today.

Posted by: FraudObama | July 23, 2009 1:59 PM | Report abuse

The lowlife dumbo went on national television and attacked the integrity of doctors.
I know several and all have more integrity in their little fingers than this incompetent piece of garbage does.
Those were not presidential remarks. They were cheap, sleazy democrat Chicago style attempts to demonise another profession.
This from one who has no accomplishments of his own, and who wants to destroy our economy and our security.
What a disgrace.

Posted by: LarryG62 | July 23, 2009 1:54 PM | Report abuse


It should be very obvious by now that the Radical in the White House Lies, Deceives and Head Fakes. His Socialized Health nonsense IS about him and his desire to control. He is a Zealot and has an overwhelming need to turn this Country inside out to CONTROL. He has a chip on his shoulder as does his angry bitter wife. There are those in this country that want to be controlled. The inept, needy, naive and insufficient. Most DO NOT, at least for now. Barry is going down with his Nationalization of Health Care and he is soon to become radioactive.

Posted by: FraudObama | July 23, 2009 1:51 PM | Report abuse

A huge component to this program is your "duty to die" as you become an older american.

Isn't health care supposed to improve and extend the quality of our lives?

If so, why are there so many components within Obama's plan that limits access to older patients?

Where's the compassion?

Where's the logic?

Where's the vision?

Who was that man thumping the podium?

Where are the answers?

Looking for answers? Read Tom Daschel's several books on health care or Obama's Science Czar about depopulation and limiting births; then you'll get the picture.

Posted by: judsonhouse1 | July 23, 2009 1:14 PM | Report abuse

If the health insurers succeed in killing reform again, as under Clinton, there next time around millions more consumers will demand NO private option. If they were smart, they'd back a Medicare option and then package a supplemental insurance policy like senior citizens buy now. WISE UP health insurers. Do not commit business suicide.

Posted by: mongolovesheriff | July 23, 2009 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Keep up the fight Mr. President, we will win. We need Health Care Reform Now. People do not under estimate the President and the true will of the people. The people want health care reform and they want a public option and they need it now.

Why are others afraid of the public option? If the public have free choice why is the private sector afraid to compete against the public option? Is it because the public option will be better in quality while being less expensive? Yes it will. To compete the private plans will have to change to be competitive and that change will mean less profits. Reduction in profits means a reduction in bonuses and campaign contributions. The private sector wants the status quo of increase profits and out of pocket costs for the consumer while decreasing the quality and availability of health care services. The public option will reduce cost for everyone while increasing services for everyone. If anyone is against the public option they are against really improving Health Care and true reform.

Push Congress to get this passed now. The President is right; this is not the time to delay. The delay tactic is really the destroy tactic. To delay is to kill the Health Care Reform, period. The GOP does not have an alternative Health Care Reform plan but to stay with the status quo. Now is the time to capture the opportunity of finally winning the fight. We must strike the knockout blow now and finally win. Do it Now!

Posted by: kg4thepeople | July 23, 2009 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Obama must think most Americans are idiots. I listened to his little pep talk and was unimpressed. Nothing he said made me feel confident in his measures as a president and nothing he said changed my mind about Universal Health Care. I don't want it for myself or any of my family.

He said he won't add to the deficit so how will it be paid for? Did he forget to tell us? Or doesn't he know? No, he doesn't want to tell Middle Americans it's going to end up coming out of our pockets-in rising taxes. In the end, that's where it's coming from.

I happen to have very good doctors and know of many others who are good. For Obama to say that some doctors are ordering surgeries that aren't needed is pathetic. Most doctors who order a surgery aren't actually doing the surgery, thus aren't making extra $ off the backs of their patients.

And who's talking about BigPharm and the prices they charge? Not any democrat I know. In fact it was reported yesterday that as the bill is now, the dems brokered a deal with BigPharm so no one can challenge the pricing. And what about malpractice? Who's talking about how that is jacking up the cost of health care? Silence.

Obama is in my home state today and if I could tell him so, I'd say this..."I'm sorry I voted for you. I won't make the same mistake next time." In fact, if this bill goes through, I won't vote for another democrat again. I'll vote for myself or Scooby Doo first.

Posted by: rumornlies | July 23, 2009 1:05 PM | Report abuse

VOTE NO TO THE SOCIALIST IRRESPONSIBLE SPENDING HEALTH BILL. OBAMA IS A LIBERAL EXTREMIST DISGRACE.

Someone else wrote:

"An economics professor at a local college made a statement that he had never failed a single student before,
but had once failed an entire class.

That class had insisted that Obama's socialism worked and that no one would be poor and no one would be rich, a great equalizer.

The professor then said, "OK,
we will have an experiment in this class on Obama's plan".

All grades would be averaged and everyone would receive the same grade so no one would fail and no one would receive an A.

After the first test, the grades were averaged and everyone got a B.
The students who studied hard were upset and the students who studied little were happy.

As the second test rolled around, the students who studied little had studied even less and the ones who studied hard decided they wanted a free ride too so they studied little.
The second test average was a D!
No one was happy.

When the 3rd test rolled around, the average was an F.

The scores never increased as bickering,
blame and name-calling all resulted in hard feelings and no one would study for the benefit of anyone else.

All failed, to their great surprise, and the professor told them that socialism would also ultimately fail because when the reward is great, the effort to succeed is great but when government takes all the reward away, no one will try or want to succeed.

Could not be any simpler than that."

And I agree. Moderate Democrats stand resolute in your opposition to this fiasco of a Bill that many of your constituents, and even the President haven't read or don't even comprehend. The Liberal Extremists are about agenda before Country. Moderate Democrats, will eventually take back control from their Liberal Leadership, lets hope this is the start.

Posted by: ignoranceisbliss | July 23, 2009 1:00 PM | Report abuse

JeffRandom- Yes $10,000 is a bargain to save your life. What President Obama's point is that his insurance had expired and he was no longer covered when he needed it. And being a recent college grad with student loans living on a tight budget, a $10,000 doctor's bill would be a huge burden. And the hospital will sell the debt to a collection agency that will charge interest. In the end his $10,000 surgery will end up cost him much more.

Posted by: MissRed | July 23, 2009 12:58 PM | Report abuse

To Republicans: you can cling to your guns but it won't help you when you get sick or got shot. You have no friends, you have no ideas, you have no leaders. All you have are snarks and venomous juvenile zingers which won't get you anywhere. America is moving into the 21st century while you are stuck in the 18th century with your musketry and "right to bear arms" mantra. Grow up, get an education, learn math, philosophy and art of argument.

Posted by: mstratas | July 23, 2009 12:56 PM | Report abuse

If government-run care is so bad, why the desperate work by insurance companies ($l.4 million-a-day lobbying) to PREVENT this Health Care Reform Bill's passage? Maybe its not so bad, maybe it needs to be stopped because it will destroy their powerful control of the nation's health care. Perhaps it will stop the spiraling upward inflation of costs (some really like this). Perhaps the pharmaceutical companies will lose their positions as the most envied profit-makers on Wall Street.
Maybe, for once since the l950's, the American people will have a system which puts the patient at the center of health care instead of the biggest profit.

Posted by: drzimmern1 | July 23, 2009 12:50 PM | Report abuse

To all anti-Reform. This is about Insurance Companies and their Lobbyists who want the status quo because they have been bilking and milking us for years. Since Reagan & his ilk came along and sold us that bill of goods about HMO, insurance companies have been abusing their privileges. Time to end it. their gravy train is about to end that's why they are panicking and throwing every attack: socialist, no option, expensive- this is hogwash. Insurance companies can no longer pick & choose who they want to insure, they cannot jack up their prices whenever they wish, they have to explain why their services are better than the public option. Pres. Obama did a very lucid explanation, only stupid Republicans refuse to comprehend.

Posted by: mstratas | July 23, 2009 12:48 PM | Report abuse

jeffrandom:

Last April this old guy broke his wrist - fractured the radial aand left 3+ bone fragments. The break called for surgery on the wrist, insertion of a plate and 5 steel screws to hold it together.

The surgery was done on an out-patient basis - I walked in under my own power on 5/1 at 7:30 AM and walked out under my own power at 2 PM.

The hospital billed Medicare and my supplemental insurance $32,749.94. That’s right - almost $32,750.

Included in the overall bill was Sterile Supply ($1,665), Metabolic Panel ($1,070), Fluoroscope Exam ($1,162), Anesthesia ($4,003), Treatment fx radial 3+ frag ($9,922) Recovery Room ($4,752) and the anchor/screws for my wrist $6,338). Oh I forgot a Chest X-ray for $635.

Think the hospital tried to overcharge Medicare? Think there’s room to save a few bucks? You bet you’re a$$. I could have spent a week recoverying at the Waldorf for $4,752. Sounds like the Pentagon buying toilet seats.

This same hospital is owned by HCA - which pleaded guilty in the past to 14 counts of Medicare fraud and paid fines of $1.6 billion. It was run at the time by “Honest” Rick Scott - who now has the nerve to show his face as a spokesperson opposing any changes in how healthcare in America is provided.

Meanwhile, the surgeon, bless her heart, billed the government $1,989. She was paid $994.56 - less than the cost of the last body work on my jeep.

I agree $10,000 for an emergency surgery is not outrageous. The surgeon was the one who was underpaid.

This system needs reform and needs it badly.

P. S. Medicare paid the hospital around $1,900 in full settlement. You can bet the ranch that the hospital would not have accepted that amount from yours truly if I was uninsured. Medicare works fine.


Posted by: toritto | July 23, 2009 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Allow me to personalize my concerns over socialized health care as proposed by President Obama.

I’m 69 and my wife is 64. We’ve been married 43 years, and we have three daughters and seven grandchildren. We’ve both worked all our lives. I am “retired” from my professional life but continue to work 32 hours a week. My wife works full time.

My health care coverage is provided by Medicare and a supplemental policy. My wife has a company policy and pays one-half of the insurance premium.

As might be expected for people our age, we’ve had some health problems ... and our health insurance has worked just fine, I hasten to add.

In early 2006, I was hit by cancer. My doctors removed my left kidney and left ureter. Today, I weigh a little less but I’m fine. My insurances covered the cost of the operation and three-day hospital stay.

Currently, my wife is contending with a gall bladder problem. She’s trying to treat it by managing her diet; the doctor would like to remove the gall bladder.

Now then …

The nation is engaged in a great debate over socialized health care, and I have to admit that we wonder and worry about the future if we have a medical crisis of some sort. We have numerous concerns, and the two at the top of our list are:

1. Would we be able to find a doctor to treat us?

2. Would the government, under socialized medicine, approve the treatment plan recommended by our doctors?

Regarding (1), my urologist, who is in his early 60s, recently expressed frustration over the government’s health care plans and said that if there is further government intrusion into his practice, he will retire. And he said he knows other doctors … especially specialists … who also will retire.

Regarding (2), we’re smart enough to understand that under socialized medicine, there will be a “needs” or “cost-benefit” test to determine where taxpayer money will be spent. Where would we stand in such an evaluation? At the back of the line, I would guess.

We’re old, we’ve already had health problems and we probably won’t be around much longer. So why would government spend money on us? Oh, a bureaucrat might OK enough morphine to stop our hearts, but I doubt that he/she would OK enough money for an operation and medicines to keep us alive.

What I’m saying, then, is that socialized medicine looks more and more like government-sanctioned euthanasia that will impact not only us, but also our children and grandchildren when they become elderly or infirm in another way.

And maybe that’s why the president and members of Congress who are trying to impose this system on us have cleverly exempted themselves from the program.

I say “no” to socialized medicine. I don’t trust the politicians, and that includes Obama.


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Posted by: george39 | July 23, 2009 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Any chance for health care reform has already been ruined. Obama did not do the one common sense thing that would have worked: extend Medicare to all citizens, and use the Medicare tax to pay for it. After all, if you're not paying health care premiums then you can afford to pay more in Medicare taxes. Tax all income, no matter the source, and tax corporate income also. Make the Medicare administration an independent body free from meddling by Congress. Make Medicare taxes free to increase or decrease in response to deficits or surpluses. Enable Medicare to negotiate ruthlessly with Big Pharma and the health care industry. Lastly, break the stranglehold the AMA has on the medical schools. Increase funding for medical education at all levels, so that the supply of doctors and nurses increases and their ability to squeeze higher and higher prices from their patients is ended. Doctors in the US make far more than doctors in any other country in the world. Where would they go if they didn't like having to make a little less?

As far as the private health insurance companies go, who needs them? They are bloodsucking parasites, only good for robbing us blind. They are a major reason that we pay and pay more and more every year, and get less and less.

All the other developed countries of the world have national health insurance, and you don't hear them clamoring for a system like ours. Their health care costs are almost half of ours, they don't worry about losing their coverage along with their jobs.

For far too long the Republicans have prevented this country from adopting a rational, efficient, and effective health care system. They don't care about their fellow man, as long as they have their insurance the uninsured can die in the gutters. They spend more time worrying about the profits of the insurance companies and the well being of the executives than they do about their fellow man, or the financial well being of their country. Its not country first, no matter what they say. It is always me first.

Posted by: Chagasman | July 23, 2009 12:45 PM | Report abuse

WHAT GOOD IS HEALTH CARE REFORM...

when a secretive, fed-enabled American Gestapo violates the human and civil rights of unjustly 'targeted' americans...

and is believed to have infiltrated the health care system?

***

FEMA, Secret Service, FBI, the U.S. military and intel agencies are among the federal enablers of volunteer community policing, anti-terrorism and town watch organizations transmogrified by Bush-Cheney into fronts for a nationwide, civilian Gestapo-like army -- an army that remains on the march under Team Obama.

This grassroots-based extrajudicial targeting and punishment "torture matrix" uses covertly implanted GPS tracking devices to stalk, harass, vandalize and terrorize unjustly "targeted" Americans and their families.

When "targets" travel, the GPS system alerts vigilantes affiliated with local units of this American Gestapo, and the harassment follows. Local police cooperation denies these targeted Americans their Constitutional right of equal protection under the law.

Silent, injury- and illness-inducing microwave and laser radiation "directed energy weapons" are being used to torture, and to degrade the lives of targeted citizens -- what could be described as a quiet, ideologically-motivated genocide.

This weaponization of the electromagnetic spectrum is every bit as socially significant as the invention of gunpowder -- but the mainstream media has yet to report in detail on the ramifications.

Victims charge that members of this civilian Gestapo have INFILTRATED THE HEALTH CARE SYSTEM, calling into question the quality of the services they receive when they need hospital or emergency care.

And companion array of “programs of personal financial destruction," using the IRS as a political weapon, sabotages the finances of targeted families. Their telecommunications and U.S. mail appear to be subject to warrantless surveillance, interception and tampering, including the alteration of financial accounts and credit card and utility billing statements.

This systematic bypass of the American judicial system makes a mockery of the rule of law -- and political "dissidents," "whistle-blowers" and those considered to be social "deviates" are among its prime targets.

Civil rights advocates: Wake up and smell the police state that has co-opted POTUS and a deluded Congress into becoming enablers of vigilante injustice and domestic torture.

http://nowpublic.com/world/gestapo-usa-govt-funded-vigilante-network-terrorizes-america

OR (if link is corrupted / disabled):

See "GESTAPO USA" at http://NowPublic.com/scrivener ("stream" or "stories" list).

Posted by: scrivener50 | July 23, 2009 12:43 PM | Report abuse

A world-renowned clinic that President Obama held up as an example of good medicine said Monday that the American people would be "losers" under the House's health care proposal, joining the growing chorus of critics the Obama administration is trying to fend off as the debate intensifies from Capitol Hill to Main Street.

Minnesota's not-for-profit Mayo Clinic, which Mr. Obama has repeatedly hailed as offering top quality care at affordable costs, blasted the House Democrats' version of the health care plan as lawmakers continue to grapple with several bills from each chamber and multiple committees.

Posted by: mharwick | July 23, 2009 12:43 PM | Report abuse

I don't know if there is any good solution to the overall healthcare problem to begin with.

But I have to wonder why Obama regards at $10K emergency surgery bill as unjust. One's life is worth at least that much, not to mention that federally-owned GM charges a lot more than that for a car.

Inconvenient and difficult? You bet. Unjust? Not at all. 10K is a bargain to save your life.

Posted by: JeffRandom | July 23, 2009 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Indepenent..:
You listen to Obama. I was reading the text of HR 3200, something that could become law, rather than listening to The-Liar-In-Chief. You Kool-Aide Libs are the most ignorant as indicated by putting your trust in words of your idols. I'll read statutes and regulations; something that I can have a court enforce. Take Obama's words and try to force him to honor them. Good Luck!

Posted by: sperrico | July 23, 2009 12:41 PM | Report abuse

The current status of healthcare in America:

There ar 47+ million people uninsured. Today it is virtually impossible to have a primary care physician without having health insurance. Paying for your treatment by cash or credit card usually isn’t good enough to become a patient of the practice. The uninsured usually wind up in emergency rooms or “emergency clinics” which can treat your cough or flu symptoms for Visa or Mastercard. We all pay for those hospital emergency room visits.

If you are uninsured you cannot get insurance if you have a “previously existing condition”. Everyone over 50 falls into these categories. Who hasn’t had something? Ideally, insurance companies want only younger, healthy customers.

If you lose your job you wind up on COBRA which is usually good for 18 months. It is expensive (compared to what you were paying when you were employed) - of course being out of work doesn’t help pay the premium. After COBRA you can usually buy a policy if you have no break in coverage. It happened to me - cost $1,120 per month - just for me. Luckily I needed it for only 7 months.

Millions are “under insured” - having say a 50% co-pay for hospital stays. Have your appendix out and you will receive a bills for tens of thousands of dollars. Health care costs a responsible for 40% of all personal bankruptcies.

Hospitals routinely overcharge for services - they settle for a relatively small percentage of the total from insurance companies and Medicare but not from individuals.

Millions of us over 65 would be insured without Medicare - that “socialist” program that “interferes” between doctors and patients, rations medical care, decides who gets what treatment etc. All seniors know its bunk - Medicare, the single payer system works just fine. No profit making insurance company in the world would cover us.

Capitalism 101 dictates that a profit making health insurance company will try to increase revenue each year by raising premiums, reduce expenses by increasing deductibles, renegotiate regularly with hosptials and doctors to reduce the amounts paid for services, cull their insurance customers by dropping sick and old people, not insure sick and old people individually to begin with etc. Note the tens of millions of dollars of compensation paid to health insurance company CEOs.

Thats the current situation........without a public option insurance reform is just more B. S.

Posted by: toritto | July 23, 2009 12:35 PM | Report abuse

free-donny wrote- There is not much more President Obama can do here. He kept his campaign promise to uninsured, underinsured, and overcharged Americans. He has pushed healthcare reform as far as congress and monied insurance giants will allow him.

I truly believe most American's would prefer sweeping changes, but they do NOT call the shots. If there is an option that President Obama has not used to force the point of healthcare reform, I'd like to know what it is.
--------------------------------------
Maybe he should use the option of finding out what is in the bill.

Posted by: 12oreo | July 23, 2009 12:35 PM | Report abuse

The President actually came into power much more weakly than most modern Presidents because he did not have the full support of his own party. Fully 1/2 of Democrats voted against him in the Primary. Yes these same people voted for him in the general election but, that was more out of rejection of the Bush years than anything else.

The President needs to convince Moderate Democrats that he can be fiscally responsible, something he has not done. His press conference yesterday was so devoid of substance no one sitting on the fence was convinced. His handlers need to go back and think about putting forth policies that make fiscal sense and look at the Demographics of Democrats and figure out how to bring Moderates back into the fold.

Posted by: DCDave11 | July 23, 2009 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Cost of voting for and supporting a Presidential nominee that bathes himself in shady characters all his life, promising "Change" = Free

Cost of implementing his vision of Change = Trillions of dollars, and the breakup of what was once the United States of America.

Personally, I think I will move to Texas soon. I know they wont go down without a fight to the death...

This is not about Obama or McCain. IMO BOTH Republicans and Democrats have embraced the Progressive movement.

The new war is between Progressive and Non-Progressive...

Get used to it and begin voting along Common Sense lines instead of remaining ignorant to whats going on around you and within your groups of elected leadership.

Posted by: indep2 | July 23, 2009 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Obama has lost it and is slowly losing the support of many Americans. He doesn't have the credibility or power to push congress either ... 2 years as a senator and two autobiographies by the age of 40 and he thought he could take on the world?

Wasn't it MacBeth so long ago who couldn't wait for his destiny so ended up detroying it? His overly ambitious wife (interesting as a modern Lady MacBeth) & friends should have warned him - too bad for all of us!

Either he eats a little humble pie and lets such important issues (we all know must be addressed) be discussed and agreed by the people for the time needed, step by step, or he will get nothing. He needs to publically admit he is not the pied piper and there are no miracle solutions.

Posted by: sally62 | July 23, 2009 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Obama/Pelosi/Democrats are INCOMPETENT liars and are incapable of pin pointing WHAT NEEDS TO BE FIXED AND PROPERLY ADJUSTING TO COVER THE FEW THAT NEED IT.

Obama/Pelosi/Democrats, keep your cotton picken incompetent hands off America's health care(the BEST). Seventy to eighty percent of Americans are HAPPY with their health care and DON'T WANT OBAMA CARE.

Posted by: ekim53 | July 23, 2009 12:22 PM | Report abuse

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Posted by: maggielindia | July 23, 2009 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Who is watching this self-absorbed, pedantic, head-so-far-up-his-own-fundament-he-cant-see-daylight, narcissist anymore? Let the Kenyan talk. The more, the less believable his BS.

Posted by: sperrico | July 23, 2009 12:13 PM
---------------------------
That is why we "socialist elite liberals" call people like you stupid. Because you are too stubborn to even listen to the guy talk.

"Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer."

If you really don't like Obama, then you should WATCH AND LISTEN TO HIM MORE, so that you know how to defeat him.

You are being even more stupid by acting like a stubborn child.

Posted by: Independent4tw | July 23, 2009 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Ridiculous. This is not about Obama or the GOP or one segment of the population against another. This is about INSURANCE COMPANIES charging too much for a simple service.

Posted by: overdrive_68 | July 23, 2009 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Who is watching this self-absorbed, pedantic, head-so-far-up-his-own-fundament-he-cant-see-daylight, narcissist anymore? Let the Kenyan talk. The more, the less believable his BS.

Posted by: sperrico | July 23, 2009 12:13 PM | Report abuse

ANYTHING President Obama comes up with will be A MILLION TIMES BETTER THAN OUT CURRENT SLAVE-TO-INSURANCE-AGENTS system.

We pay and pay and pay - and then get ZERO coverage because the insurance companies cancel policies before they have to pay out.

THOSE are the benefits republicans want YOU to have: NOTHING.

Posted by: onestring | July 23, 2009 12:12 PM | Report abuse

As with the other Obama and Congressional spending binges, funding for this "health plan" is no more than a strong-arm robbery.

Deadbeat Democrats want to mug the productive workers in the private sector of our society to support all the wards of state who hold government jobs, get welfare, or receive other entitlements. Liberals have become no better than a bunch of looters.

There is no way that the United States can support all these spending binges when half the population lives off the hard work of the other half. Elsewhere in the world, including the soft socialist countries of Europe and Canada, far fewer people are living on the dole. Sadly, America has already become a socialist nation with too much of its wealth spent on welfare and other entitlements.

The United States simply cannot spend more than it produces, and the Obama deficits have become so overwhelming that they are collapsing our economy and sending the world economy into a severe recession. It's a matter of simple math. We cannot run up huge debts, especially when we have no means of ever repaying these massive loans.

Posted by: Jerzy | July 23, 2009 12:11 PM | Report abuse

This is real simple - I will post what I sent in an email the the White House this past week.

=======================
Summary:

Get the following stats for each insurance company / entity:
1. Percentage of moneys received that go to care for insured.
2. Percentage of moneys received that go to running the company / entity.

This is the start of determining where the system is broken.

Details:

Most efficient system = for each incident, patient pays cash to care provider.
Insurance = spreads patient's incident costs evenly over time / population (good idea).

Problem = Insurance has evolved to cost too much to provide the service of spreading incident costs over time / population.

No improvements / cost savings are possible if:
1. Insurance companies / entities continue to shuffle too much paper across too many desks.
2. Insurance lobbyists help write legislation.
Even though Insurance Companies are all "on board" - there is a conflict of interest. Easy way to kill any possible change is to write legislation that ups costs (as is being done). I suspect they are purposefully "helping" out in this way.

Posted by: overdrive_68 | July 23, 2009 12:09 PM | Report abuse

OBAMA IS DOING THE HEAVYLIFTING THAT PAST PRESIDENTS TRIED BUT FAILED!!! NOW IS THE TIME AND HE HAS SEIZED IT!!! HEALTHCARE REFORM NOW, HEALTHCARE REFORM TOMORROW, HEALTHCARE REFORM FOREVER!!!

Posted by: demtse | July 23, 2009 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Antonio Sosa is part of the 6% of Hispanics that still thinks highly of the GOP.

http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2009/7/22/17302/6617

And, yes, it was a real poll (Research 2000) finding that Latinos despise the GOP.

Posted by: ElrodinTennessee | July 23, 2009 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Remember the 1980"s when Reagan and the GOP hatched this HMO idea and set loose the mess that we find ourselves in today? Eeerily similar to the economic meltdown, except it's the healthcare meltdown. These were both GOP ideological ideas and both have failed miserably.

Are we incapable of connecting the dots to the disaster GOP policy and politics has been to this country the last 20+ years?

Posted by: ScottChallenger | July 23, 2009 11:54 AM
------------------------
I jumped into politics about a year ago, completely independent from all political parties with only my own common sense to lead the way.

I have determined that the republicans are the party of high school drop outs, idiot frat-boys, rednecks, religious nuts, and lobbyist-paid and selfish politicians.

That is pretty much why almost all conservatives and republicans have no answer to the big question:

"If you don't like what Obama is doing, what do prefer to do instead?"

Why is it that they always want to do nothing?

Posted by: Independent4tw | July 23, 2009 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Among the grumbles in the public area I was standing in when Obamaland broke into regular TV, the loudest one was when he lied and said He inherited all this Debt.
The USA formally ended 400b in debt.
Obamaland is currently trillions in debt and still he-ll bent on the complete destruction of the Nation's financial backbone.
Who needs enemies when we have the worst ones in DC?

Posted by: dottydo | July 23, 2009 11:59 AM | Report abuse

When the tubes are switched to other channels and the bar patrons are groaning out loud demanding it, the tell is out there that someone needs to pull Obama, because he is done.
Every one has a fork in him now.

Obama = No confidence

Posted by: dottydo | July 23, 2009 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Remember the 1980"s when Reagan and the GOP hatched this HMO idea and set loose the mess that we find ourselves in today? Eeerily similar to the economic meltdown, except it's the healthcare meltdown. These were both GOP ideological ideas and both have failed miserably.

Are we incapable of connecting the dots to the disaster GOP policy and politics has been to this country the last 20+ years?

Posted by: ScottChallenger | July 23, 2009 11:54 AM | Report abuse

As big brother Barrack and his cronies continue to muscle their destructive unconstitutional programs down our throats. Others are making moves to preserve our freedom. Contact your congress person and demand that they co sponsor these measure.
HR 2629, the "Coercion is Not Health Care Act", prevents the federal government from forcing any American to purchase health insurance or conditioning participation in any federal program on the purchase of health insurance.
HR 2630, the "Protect Patients' and Physicians' Privacy Act", allows patients and physicians to opt out of any federally mandated, created, or funded electronic medical records system, repeals sections of federal law establishing a "unique health identifier," and requires patient consent before any electronic medical records can be released to a 3rd party.

Posted by: AtlasShrugged1 | July 23, 2009 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Last night the President had a press conference. But where was the press? I know they were sitting in their designated seats politely waiting to be selected to ask a question.

They all know the drill. The president has prepared for him a short list of the annointed few. They get to stand up, speak in the microphone and have their 15 seconds of fame.

I don't fault the President for trying to control the press. But I ask you, why does the press go along? There is not one moment of spontaneity. The questioners are tipped off, in advance, by the White House and they behave accordingly.

No. Not one questions about Iraq. Not one questions about Afghanistan, where American troops have had the worst month of fatalities in eight years. These guys, and women, are not journalists. They're enablers.

DOWN WITH OUR CORRUPT LIBERAL PRESS....

Posted by: allenridge | July 23, 2009 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Pres. Obama struck the right balance, he talked a lot of sense and he was persuasive. I have always have insurance although I am luck to have good health. Every year my premium and co-pay for doctor's visits & prescription have been going up. Based on omy state of health and use of the insurance, I really shouldn't be paying higher and higher every year, but I do. So I learn that UnitedHealthcare CEO receives about $154 MILLION in salary, perks, benefits. Why? Other insurance co. CEOS get astronomical pay also. Again, why? Obviously, they profit from people's illnesses, they control physicians' decisions and request for procedures, they ration services. I want Pres. Obama's reform because it means the end of insurance cos' stranglehold and dictatorship. There will be real competition among service providers and every American will benefit.

Posted by: mstratas | July 23, 2009 11:47 AM | Report abuse

POTUS WhamBama and Congress continue to roll this manure in powdered sugar, but it will NEVER be a jelly donut !!!

BTW: Botox, Stretched, Stonewall faced San Fran Nan is STILL a LIAR !!! She just thought WE forgot !!!

Posted by: thgirbla | July 23, 2009 11:46 AM | Report abuse

I want universal health care, but the debate has overlooked the economics of health care. A basic question that has gone unanswered: "why does health care costs go up each year?" Is it because the cost of drugs (er, I mean medicine) increase? Is it because doctors and nurses are raking in huge fees? Has the cost of operating a hospital dramatically increased? And what about insurance premiums to for-profit Blue Cross Blue Shield? As jobs have been exported, presumably fewer workers would have employers match premium payments.

Again, I want universal health care, but how can the industry be reformed without some clear understanding of the economic forces in play?

Posted by: rmorris391 | July 23, 2009 11:45 AM | Report abuse

OBAMA MUST FAIL!
AMERICA MUST FAIL!
Signed,
Osama Bin Laden

Posted by: Tomcat3 | July 23, 2009 11:42 AM | Report abuse

"Obama has now made it as explicit as he can that health reform must include meaningful cost containment, saying he will not sign a bill that doesn't work. Will he, in the end, hold to that line?"

What actions has he taken or not taken, in his first six months, that gives one confidence that he will?

Posted by: Curmudgeon10 | July 23, 2009 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Obama, when talking about issues such as health care is articulate and seems somewhat persuasive. Yet he is showing a tendency to exaggerate the issues involved by trying to portray the public debate, as he did with the eocnomic "stimulus," as a choice between adopting "his" plan or nothing.

While many Republicans would like to do very little in expanding health care coverage, Obama is mistaken in characterizing opposition by many to elements of the emerging health care plan as simply wanting to do nothing about health care. He reminds me of Reagan who promised to reduce taxes, increase military spending while balancing the budget. Too many promises, which were inherently contradictory.

Obama is similar in stating, according to his plan, health care quality will be improved, there will be nearly universal health care coverage, health costs will go down in the short-term and long-term costs will be less than if his bill is not enacted. Too many promises with some of the intended results probably conflicting with each other.

Many people are justifiably worried about health care rationing, inadequate subsidies for those required to purchase health care insurance, reduced Medicare benefits and being denied certain medical treatments if deemed, rightly or wrongly, to be near the end of life. Obama says his plan will not reduce Medicare benefits, but it's hard to believe the significant reductions being promoted by his administration and conservatives in Congress, won't result in increased out of pocket expenses.

Too many presidents have misled the public about the effects of some of their policy initiatives. The public has every right to be at least somewhat skeptical.

Health care reform is needed, but Obama and Congress need to get it right, so a new system is fair, universal, and facilitates likely improvements in health care.

Posted by: Aprogressiveindependent | July 23, 2009 11:28 AM | Report abuse

The government would undertake comparative-effectiveness research and cost-effectiveness research, and use the results of that research to impose practice guidelines on providers — initially, in government programs such as Medicare and Medicaid, but possibly eventually extending such rationing to private insurance plans. For more on this topic, please read the article titled :"Reagan Refutes The ObamaCare Hypothesis" posted on http://www.cliffyworld.com

Posted by: Cliffyworld | July 23, 2009 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Now we know what is wrong with Obama. He needs to be more forceful. If he had read this article before his speech he would have been better prepared. WAPO should see that Obama gets more Balz tommorow. It should be sent to the white house everyday.

Posted by: seemstome | July 23, 2009 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Balz - I disagree. lecture is precisely what Obama needs to do, because the congress are acting like little spoiled children. They need to be sent to their rooms without dinner to contemplate their immature behavior. And that goes for the greedy insurance companies, hospitals, and everyone else who's afraid of change. The health care situation is in dire staits, and has been for years. It needs to be fixed, and fixed now.

As for those who shudder at the thought of "government bureaucrats" limiting their choices, stop and think for a minute as to just how insurance companies limit your choices under the current configuration.

Posted by: adrienne_najjar | July 23, 2009 11:03 AM | Report abuse

This is too important a question to rush into law. We must consider it more. Sixty years is not enough. More study is needed, then we can create the perfect health care system. I think we will be ready by 2069. All our problems will be solved by then - we'll be dead.

Posted by: seemstome | July 23, 2009 11:02 AM | Report abuse

"...House Speaker Nancy Pelosi verbally amended the House bill earlier..." it really doesn't work that way.

What exactly does 'health care reform' mean, anyway? Don't believe the hype. Read the type.

If you think the legislation working its way through Congress answers
that question to your satisfaction, do nothing. Don't even read it.
Trust, I know it is hard to read. I did it.

That is why I took the liberty of removing most of the legalese and
rewriting them.
Even if you don't read every word; I suspect you won't. Take the time to
review the section headings, carefully.
House version:
http://docs.google.com/View?id=dcbcndm3_4kjt88kcg
Senate version:
http://docs.google.com/View?id=dcbcndm3_2s6m7rdk

I know, in neither case did I finish rewriting them. Seriously, they are
huge. The process is time consuming. I may never finish.

If, after review, the proposed legislation is to any degree offensive, contact your
representatives and tell them.

Posted by: DevPts | July 23, 2009 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Who writes the headlines? Balz doesn't use the word 'lecture' at all.

Posted by: bsimon1 | July 23, 2009 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Thank you, to Blue Dog Democrats and the
Republicans for Doing your Job and asking good questions. Despite what Obama says about it being political, we realize you're not trying to put on the brakes--- you're just Doing your Job and asking the hard questions, that others don't have the guts to ask; thank you for trying to prevent our reckless, inept leaders from rushing into something with blinders on... something as huge as healthcare.

Posted by: ohioan | July 23, 2009 10:53 AM | Report abuse

If next year comes and no reform passes then you WILL see forty, fifty or sixty million uninsured. Insurance companies will need to recover their losses from this huge propaganda campaign that they have financed.
That means higher rates and higher co-pays since no one will stop them.
They own us and they know it.

Posted by: seemstome | July 23, 2009 10:52 AM | Report abuse

panielson:"MONKEYCARE"? nice try, but code words don't work anymore. You'll have to try harder to hide your racism. But then what kind of a racist are you that you aren't proud enough to say the words you really want to say? Probably because you know they won't be accepted in the everyday world, on wapo and other sites, etc...racists aren't a part of the real world, they live in their own little delusional space where they have to constantly defend themselves against intrusions by someone "different" than them. Oooo, how scary!

Posted by: katem1 | July 23, 2009 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Looney season has started !! I have not read some many luny posts in one day from washington post ! Balz, You must know how to write looney tunes !!! Ha Ha !!

Posted by: hellowashington | July 23, 2009 10:44 AM | Report abuse

When that insurance company "money train" pulled into town, almost everyone took a seat. Blue dog democrat senators, the Washington Times, even the Washington Post is on board.
Republican senators don't need to ride. They own stock in the railroad. Some of the brainwashed posting here ride the train with no money coming their way. I hope they enjoy selling out their country.

Posted by: seemstome | July 23, 2009 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Obama’s speech was filled with platitudinous drivel and feel good politics, signifying nothing but “we’re the government and we’re here to help” with all of the costly and ignominious failure that portends.

As demonstrated during the campaign, this secular messiah can say nothing better than anyone and those few bald statements like, "I've also pledged that health insurance reform will not add to our deficit over the next decade, and I mean it", are damnable lies soon be covered over by the duplicitous fog of politics.

The only question is whether the American people and more conservative congress members will fall for incremental socialism under the crippling influence of a health care system largely driven to unaffordable excess by special interests through previous feel good government action - only to be rescued now by even more government action with continued appeasement of these same special interests, e.g. trial lawyers seeking to continue milking the system of trillions of dollars.

Posted by: RUKidding0 | July 23, 2009 10:41 AM | Report abuse

A good summary by Dan Balz. I'm convinced that health care reform must be enacted and I've seen some very convincing evidence to support that conclusion. But I agree that the President seems to be lecturing ineffectively at press conferences and other forums. He obviously is trying to frame his responses to too many audiences to be convincing. Bill Moyers in the last two broadcasts of the Journal on PBS does a nice job in framing the issues. So do Atul Gawande in the June 1 issue of the New Yorker and Richard Cohen in the Washington Post. Somehow the President needs to simplify and bring home these points to convince the public and the press. He has the talent to frame these arguments convincingly and should use the appropriate forum to articulate them simply but forcefully.

Posted by: retiredfed | July 23, 2009 10:40 AM | Report abuse

antoniososa, you insult our intelligence by thinking we would automatically believe your GOP talking points. It's like Rush sent out millions of trolls to say the same thing over and over agian. No facts, just smear and fear, same-old, same-old. You do a great diservice to your fellow citizens by trying to ram your ideology down everyone else's throats. Want to discuss the merits and problems of the reform in congress, fine, but this constant
"Obama bad" crap is so immature and so disturbing cause you guys really believe his birth certificate is fake.

Posted by: katem1 | July 23, 2009 10:38 AM | Report abuse

What is all this fuss about the cost of healthcare? I pays $70 per month out of my paycheck for a nice healthcare plan and I can choose my doctor. Its a lot of money but it is less than I pay for beer in a week. Why is everyone complaining about the cost of healthcare? Its stopid.

I think American healthcare is the greatest in the whole world. I am a proud american and I always vote republican. I do not want no communist healthcare like they got everywheres else.

Posted by: warren631 | July 23, 2009 10:24 AM | Report abuse

free-donny:
"I truly believe most American's would prefer sweeping changes."

Depending on which poll you want to use, you will find that 75% to 90% say they are happy with their current health care plan. So I don't think polls support your 'belief'.

Sure, everyone says "yes" when asked if they would want the currently uninsured to be insured, but the same people don't want the entire apple-cart upset and THEIR coverage to change just to cover the 3%-4% of Americans who are uninsured. There have to be ways to take care of those 3%-4% without subjecting the other 96% to changes they don't want.

By the way, I don't have time to surf to every Wash Post blog and story. Has anyone else seen yet whether the left-leaners on Wash Post have covered the non-partisan CBO (but run by a Democrat) even admitting now the "50 million uninsured" is a phony number, and the real number of people uninsured at any time is more like 18 million? (and about half of those are illegals who won't be paying taxes to cover the health care costs Democrats and Obama want to extend their way)

Posted by: dbw1 | July 23, 2009 10:23 AM | Report abuse

I applaud the President for what he is trying to do. He needs help. I am constantly amazed at the lack of Democrats who vociferously should be shouting from the rooftops about how lousy our system is.If Ted Kennedy were in good health,I'm sure he would be a huge plus for the President.How about Warner or Webb or Feingold? Please! There has to be a coordinated effort to combat the lies of the insurance crooks who run the system now. The Republicans take their walking orders from anyone who wiil give money to keep them in power.It's time for Democrats to start acting like Democrats!!!

Posted by: hughsie48 | July 23, 2009 10:23 AM | Report abuse

If we actually were to believe all of his lies about the "Benefits" of "Monkey Care", how about him posting the specifics regarding the health plan that he and his family will receive under "Monkey Care".

Posted by: panielsen | July 23, 2009 10:22 AM | Report abuse

EVERYTHING Obama has done so far has harmed us. He has multiplied our deficit, increased unemployment, increased poverty, and decreased our wellbeing and safety. He sides and defends terrorists and U.S. enemies (Hamas, Castro, Chavez, Zelaya) and harms us and our friends (Israelis, Hondurans).

How can anyone believe that his plans to socialize our health care system are good for us? Socialized health care is just another step to impose socialism/Marxism on us, and the corruption, poverty, enslavement, destruction and despair that Marxism entails.

Obama is working much faster than Hugo Chavez at destroying the economy and imposing socialism/communism/Marxism. No wonder the Russians are gloating at the speed at which Obama is destroying us. From Pravda: “…the American descent into Marxism is happening with breath taking speed, against the back drop of a passive, hapless sheeple…” http://english.pravda.ru/opinion/columnists/107459-american_capitalism-0

Posted by: AntonioSosa | July 23, 2009 10:22 AM | Report abuse

The more we learn about Obamacare, the more scary Obamacare looks. For example, we don’t look forward to being MANDATED to receive end-of-life (death) counseling when they turn 65, as per the House version of the Health Care Bill (pages 425-430)!

When we turn 65, we will be forced to receive death counseling at least every five years and more often if they are sick or in a nursing home. That may be why Obama says we’ll “save” money! http://romanticpoet.wordpress.com/2009/07/22/part-of-obama-healthcare-plan-mandatory-counseling-for-seniors-over-65-regarding-end-of-life-issues/

Posted by: AntonioSosa | July 23, 2009 10:20 AM | Report abuse

The health care reform as it is currently written will fruther erode our economy. It will take away choice, lead to rationing of health care and significant moral and ethical boundaries to be eroded. Further, the cost burden will never be covered by the "rich" only tax increase. That money has to come from some where- tax the rich and watch business crumble further. The insurance industry will be destroyed. Reform is needed but it takes time. The tone of this administration is to order the people and congress. We have 3 independent branches of government for checks and balances.

Posted by: private3 | July 23, 2009 10:19 AM | Report abuse

It became more obvious than ever that Obama lies, manipulates, intimidates and coerces to get his way.

It also became obvious that he does not even know the details of the health care system he wants to shove down our throats!

It seems what matters to him is increasing his power by getting control of our health care system.

Posted by: AntonioSosa | July 23, 2009 10:14 AM | Report abuse

There is not much more President Obama can do here. He kept his campaign promise to uninsured, underinsured, and overcharged Americans. He has pushed healthcare reform as far as congress and monied insurance giants will allow him.

I truly believe most American's would prefer sweeping changes, but they do NOT call the shots. If there is an option that President Obama has not used to force the point of healthcare reform, I'd like to know what it is.

Posted by: free-donny | July 23, 2009 10:10 AM | Report abuse

Tutorials and press confrences are ok but the president needs to have conversations with the public rather than lecture them.

Television and the internet are fine but he should not ignore the old fashioned radio as well.

A routinely schedualed - Monday - conversation like the fireside chats from a plain Jane room in the White House would be less off putting for those who are offended by pomp and circumstance and concentrate the mind on the content rather than the accessories of the production.

The conversations should be short - 15 or 20 minutes max. They should show some continuity of content and concentrate on what is or likely to be happening that week in Congress.

Giving a critique on Saturday allows the rest of the weekend for everyone to forget. The purpose is for them to remember and sometimes even act.

He doesn't need rhetoric or to arouse emotion and in fact this may obscure and dilute the message. He can save the soaring emoting for campaigns for votes. Now he needs to promoter conviction and resolve.

Posted by: sauerkraut | July 23, 2009 10:07 AM | Report abuse

No one else thought Obama's opening statement last night went a long way to shoring up public support for his health care agenda?

http://www.political-buzz.com/

Posted by: parkerfl1 | July 23, 2009 9:59 AM | Report abuse

ATTENTION POTUS (c/o R. Emanuel, D. Axelrod, V. Jarrett)


What happened to Prof. Gates is emblematic of...

...A MALEVOLENT, COVERT VIGILANTE GESTAPO ARMY -- ENABLED BY SECRETIVE FEDERAL AGENCIES AND COMMANDS AND COMPLICIT LOCAL POLICE.

THIS EXECUTIVE BRANCH 'MULTI-AGENCY COORDINATED ACTION PROGRAM' IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL, MAKING A MOCKERY OF THE RULE OF LAW.

ITS ARCHITECTS MUST BE REMOVED FROM POWER.

***

"CIA Assassination Ring" a Cover Story to Shield a Nationwide American Gestapo?

POTUS CO-OPTED INTO BECOMING ENABLER-IN-CHIEF FOR SECRETIVE MULTI-AGENCY VIGILANTE 'GESTAPO'

• Bush-legacy extrajudicial targeting/punishment network makes a mockery of the rule of law at the grassroots -- violating civil and human rights.

President Obama has been co-opted into becoming the enabler of a federally-funded and overseen "multi-agency coordinated action" program of nationwide extrajudicial targeting and punishment...

...a vigilante Gestapo "torture matrix" that is misusing federally-funded volunteer programs to subvert the rule of law. This nationwide civilian vigilante army covertly implants GPS tracking devices to stalk, persecute, vandalize and harass unjustly targeted citizens and their families -- with no court warrant.

This secretive multi-agency "program" also misuses government surveillance operations to censor, and maliciously tamper with, the telecommunications of many thousands of the unjustly targeted -- and funnels surveillance data to citizen "gang stalker" harassers.

An array of "programs of personal financial destruction" decimates the finances of "target" families -- contributing to economic distress. And microwave "directed energy weapons" are being used to degrade their very lives -- a gross violation of human rights, government-enabled crimes against humanity.

And no authorities will investigate -- invoking the "Gulag" tactic of dismissing those who seek justice as "delusional."

Please, Team Obama: Wake up and smell the police state that is co-opting your administration and making POTUS a pitchman and enabler for an American Gestapo.


http://nowpublic.com/world/gestapo-usa-govt-funded-vigilante-network-terrorizes-america

OR (if link is corrupted / disabled):

http://My.NowPublic.com/scrivener (see "stream" or "stories" list)

Posted by: scrivener50 | July 23, 2009 9:53 AM | Report abuse

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