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Health-Care Town Hall a Platform for Obama's Economic Defense

By Dan Balz
On the day President Obama took the bully pulpit to New Hampshire to sell his health-care plan, it is clear that the debate has become a proxy for a much bigger fight over the size and power of the federal government. By his own actions earlier this year, the president has been thrown on the defensive.

Tuesday's town hall meeting in Portsmouth provided the administration an opportunity to counter what White House officials see as a campaign of disinformation and misinformation by opponents of his health-care initiative. Given the raucous town halls held by some members of Congress, that's an important priority. But that is only part of the selling job the president faces, given what has happened so far in his young administration.

Over the past 10 months, in an effort to salvage the economy from a much worse collapse, Washington has assumed a central role in large parts of the U.S. economy. First, under the Bush administration, came the bailouts for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Next was the bailout for AIG and later more money for the banks.

Then came Obama's stimulus package -- almost $800 billion in new spending and some tax cuts. That legislation made Washington the engine of economic recovery as a substitute for a private sector immobilized by lack of credit and low consumer confidence.

Then came a bailout for the auto industry, which gave the federal government a sizeable equity share of the new General Motors -- to the dismay of many Americans. Obama has said repeatedly he has no interest in having the government be a long-term overseer of the auto company, but under his administration, Washington ordered the firing of GM's chief executive and dictated other terms as the price of government support.

White House officials argue that each of those individual decisions was necessary, given the fragile state of the economy and of the potential consequences of allowing one or another of those big firms to fail. The lessons of letting Lehman Brothers go bankrupt in September weighed heavily on, first, Bush administration officials as they prepared the initial bailouts last fall and, then, Obama and his team as they took over in January.

Collectively, however, those actions have come at a significant cost to the administration's ability to sell health-care reform to the public. One of the biggest unknowns about the ultimate success of the Obama presidency is the question of how much government the public will accept.

Do a majority of Americans see what he has done as necessary -- and short term -- or do they conclude that he is, at heart, a big-government liberal in a country that still remains skeptical toward too much centralized power in Washington? That debate continues, and Republicans believe it is one of the president's biggest vulnerabilities.

Obama was mindful of this issue as he was about to assume the presidency. He did not regard his election as a mandate for big government. Ronald Reagan, he said in an interview during his transition, ushered in an era of "skepticism toward government solutions to every problem." That was a lasting legacy of the conservative movement that was not undone by the 2008 election.

He said he believed his election represented the end of knee-jerk reaction against big government, but not an embrace of big government. "What we don't know yet is whether my administration and this next generation of leadership is going to be able to hew to a new, more pragmatic approach," he explained.

In the health-care debate, the issue of how much government is too much has crystallized around the issue of the so-called public option. Advocates say this would give people another choice for health insurance, rather than having to depend only on private insurance; it would provide competition for the private insurers and therefore could help to hold down costs. Opponents have seized on it as a step toward government control of the health-care system.

The public option is dear to the left in the Democratic Party. They regard it as a way to break the power of private insurers and therefore as an essential piece of any health-care reform legislation. But increasingly, Democratic leaders appear willing to jettison it in the final negotiations, if that is the price of getting a bill through Congress and onto Obama's desk. Senate Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) signaled Sunday on CNN's "State of the Nation" that he would not let the public option bring down the entire health-care bill.

Durbin's views echo hints that have been coming from the White House for some weeks, but for Obama, the choice at this moment may be starker than his Democratic friends had anticipated. Has the health-care debate now reached a point where he has to make clearer what he regards as essential in a final bill, including the public option?

Obama might prefer to wait and use the public option as a bargaining chip late in the legislative process. Would he be better off to try to reshape the debate now by saying he is prepared to take the public option off the table? Some of his staunchest allies believe that would be the prudent course and one that might change the dynamic of the debate in the administration's favor.

Had Obama not had to confront an economy in such bad straits, the issue of how much government he was embracing might not have become so heated. Certainly the health-care reform initiative was going to include an intense debate over Washington's role in the system, as it did when Bill Clinton tried to overhaul the system in 1993-94. But Obama's decisions elsewhere have dramatically escalated that debate and compromised the administration's position.

Obama can hope to affect the debate with rhetoric and salesmanship, which was the purpose of his trip to New Hampshire on Tuesday. But he also will have to take concrete actions to steer the legislation toward a successful conclusion. Many of his allies believe the time for that has now arrived.

Posted at 1:39 PM ET on Aug 11, 2009  | Category:  Health Care
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if you look at history, the American public votes in democrats every so often to correct the mistakes of the republicans, as we did this last year----


the 25% of hard core republicans, of course, won't acknowledge this----


but the selfishness of the Bush years and fear that they conjured up to prolong their military contracts (and to get contributions from those contractors), lead to one of the most memorable quotes by Bush,
--"I've made a lot of money for the RNC"--
goes to the heart of (his)their agenda.


So, for all of you hard core republicans, donate to the RNC---

And, to all of you hard core democrats, donate to help those need help, volunteer when others are in need, be kind to one another--

Posted by: genewebster | August 13, 2009 11:56 AM

It comes down to a question of whether the Americans people will trust a president that ended the worst recession since the 1930's or a party that got us into said recession...

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

Posted by: parkerfl1 | August 13, 2009 9:59 AM

") When we use and enjoy the US Postal Service or the US Federal highway system ..."
---
The USPS is NOT I repeat NOT taxpayer funded.

Posted by: JRM2 | August 12, 2009 8:05 PM

""This should make clear to anyone just what these power-drunk elitists think of your opinion.

http://reaganiterepublicanresistance.blogspot.com
Posted by: ReaganiteRepublican | August 11, 2009 7:20 PM ""
---
Ahhh Ronald Reagan, the shining beacon of the Republican party who had a 10.8% unemployment rate 2 years into his first term and a higher tax rate too. Let's not forget he turned a 55 billion dollar deficit into a 3 trillion dollar deficit too!

Posted by: JRM2 | August 12, 2009 8:04 PM

Truthtrees said:

"The public would like to see insurance companies better regulated as their trust in these companies has been violated by these companies making decisions based solely on the motive of increasing their profit."

AIG paid itself bonuses after getting a bailout. It was "too big to fail".

You aren't too big to fail.

Insurance companies can drop you or deny coverage even if you've paid premiums all your life.

The government plan makes that illegal.

Posted by: JohnQuimby | August 12, 2009 7:23 PM

Do you support Health Care Reform?

http://www.youpolls.com/details.asp?pid=5927

.

Posted by: usadblake | August 12, 2009 6:12 PM

U.S. GOVERNMENT PROGRAM TORTURES UNJUSTLY TARGETED CITIZENS WITH MICROWAVE, LASER RADIATION WEAPONRY, SAYS MAINSTREAM JOURNALIST

Silent, potentially deadly microwave/laser directed energy weapons are being used to torture and degrade the lives of thousands of U.S. citizens who have been unjustly targeted by a covert "multi-agency coordinated action program" overseen by a secretive division of the Department of Homeland Security, charges a longtime mainstream journalist who counts himself among its victims.

An extrajudicial targeting and "torture matrix" administered by this program deploys a civilian army of vigilantes recruited from the ranks of federally-funded community policing and volunteer organizations, and receives tacit support from local law enforcement.

The victims of this program, who claim they are targeted for reasons of politics, ideology and hate, are relentlessly stalked, harassed -- and, they say, tortured -- by directed energy weapons assault. The attacks are believed to be delivered by way of portable weaponry and via terrestrial and satellite telecommunications.

Victims' movements are tracked by covertly implanted GPS devices or their own cell phones. Some say they are kept virtual prisoners, tortured night and day, their property and possessions vandalized and disturbed when they leave their homes.

And, victims say, no federal or local authorities will investigate -- often insinuating that their claims are delusions and a symptom of mental illness.

The delusion, victims respond, is believing that democracy and the rule of law can survive when the federal government enables or commits war crimes against its own citizens.

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

OR (if link is corrupted / disabled):

http://NowPublic.com/scrivener RE: "GESTAPO USA"

OFFICIAL 2006 AIR FORCE VIDEO DISCUSSES 'SURGICAL PRECISION' OF MICROWAVE / LASER DIRECTED ENERGY WEAPONS

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mSGprwJx_zs&NR=1

Posted by: scrivener50 | August 12, 2009 1:50 PM

I agree that the journalists are missing the forest by looking at trees. They, along with many of our Senators and Represenatives, have turned a "deaf ear" to the people of this county who are screaming that they don't want govenment intervention in their current health care plans... other than intervention in the things that would help reduce the cost of their insurance premuiums such as changing laws to require arbitration for adverse outcomes so that the legal costs involved in malpractice premiums can be reduced, and investigation into the drug companies practice of greatly inflating prices for drugs on the market for years. In addition, as the "publics" health care policies must pay for the portion of Medicare and Medicaid that remain unfunded, they would like to see Congress making an effort to reduce the costs of these existing entitlements by requiring the use of generic drugs and negotiation for prices of drugs with no generic equivalent. There should be an investigation into the inflated charges of the providers that have never been forced to take the Medicare and Medicaid cuts forced onto both physicians and hospitals in the past... such as the out-patient physical therapy & occupational therapy centers, home health companies, and the durable goods service providers, who have all continued to increase their charges over the past several years. An additional aspect to reducing the costs of these entitlements would be to require an up-front co-payment for using these benefits.

The people are not asking for an additional entitlement to be created!! More important than the cost of their own health care insurance is the cost of doing NOTHING to reign in this government spending!!! They believe that one more entitlement will do nothing but lead to a breakdown of the current health care system.

The public would like to see insurance companies better regulated as their trust in these companies has been violated by these companies making decisions based solely on the motive of increasing their profit.

Why does the public not "trust" that their health care dollars can be managed by the government? What has happened to the trillions of their hard earned social security and medicare dollars that they have already entrusted to "Uncle Sam?"

Posted by: truthfrees | August 12, 2009 11:35 AM

Memo to Dan Balz: Mainstream Journalists are Missing the Forest for the Trees.

HEALTH CARE RABBLE-ROUSERS: THE SPAWN OF AN AMERICAN GESTAPO

MSNBC's Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow got to the nub of these phony protests last week when they correctly connected the dots between the anti- health care zealots and the teabaggers, the 2000 election recount "Brooks Brothers" demonstrators, and other hard-right rabble-rousing.

The foot soldiers in this ginned-up street theater don't have to be paid by the health care lobbyists who are providing logistical support and public relations muscle for their supposedly spontaneous grassroots uprising. Fact is, many of them appear to be affiliated with, and thus subsidized by, federally-funded community volunteer organizations...

...the same brownshirt-like vigilantes that comprise a highly organized American Gestapo that works with a secretive executive branch "multi-agency coordinated action program" to violate the civil and human rights of unjustly "targeted" neighbors -- making a mockery of the rule of law.

And victims report that silent, high-tech microwave/laser "directed energy weapons" are being used to degrade the health and well-being of the unjustly targeted.

Read the story that the mainstream media cannot or will not tell:

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 | August 12, 2009 12:32 AM

Dan, this is an interesting comment -- and seems to have elicited far fewer than the usual hysterical rants.

Although it's a good point, it strikes me that the expansion of the federal government happened under the last Administration, and perhaps under our noses.

Many of the folks who are now so afraid of Big Government in an economic stimulus that averted a Depression and an intervention in the auto industry that held off complete collapse of the industry seem to have ignored a few facts. We have already acceded to stifling controls over office buildings, airline terminals, and the simple elements of our daily lives, including our telephone calls and emails, all of which were introduced in the Bush Administration. These expansions dwarf anything that is proposed for health care.

I do fear that many folks who accepted a Big Government with a bland white face like George W Bush or Karl Rove -- i.e., like them, are wiling to argue that when it looks like Katherline Sibelius, Barney Frank or Barack Obama, it's THEM. and alarming. Balz' comment makes sense, but I don't hear it in the presentations of most of the folks who publicly oppose health care reform.

Posted by: thmas | August 11, 2009 11:16 PM

JackSmith1 above wrote:
THIS IS IT!

More than two thirds of the American people want a single payer health care system. And if they cant have a single payer system 76% of all Americans want a strong government-run public option on day one (85% of democrats, 71% of independents, and 60% of republicans). Basically everyone.

AND NO INSURANCE MANDATES WITHOUT A STRONG GOVERNMENT-RUN PUBLIC OPTION ON DAY ONE! An insurance mandate without a strong government-run public option choice on day one, would be a DISASTER! And it would be worse than the GREED DRIVEN PRIVATE FOR PROFIT HEALTH INSURANCE HORROR! SHOW you have now. YOU MUST MAKE CERTAIN!! THAT DOES NOT HAPPEN AMERICA.

The healthcare reform bills released by the first two committees of the House Of Representatives are excellent bills as I understand them. They are bills with a strong, robust, government-run public option, and an intelligent, reasonable initial funding plan to cover almost all of the American people. They are carefully written, and thoughtfully constructed, informed, prudent and wise. These bills will save trillions of dollars, and millions of your lives. They are also now supported by the AMA.

These are the type of bills that all Americans can feel good about. And these are the type of bills that have the potential to dramatically improve the quality of healthcare for all Americans. Rich, middle class and poor a like. Democrats, Republicans, Independents, and all other party affiliations. These bills have the potential to dramatically improve the quality of life of every American, blah, blah, blah.


Doesn't that really capture the liberal mindset? He quotes poll numbers that have no basis in reality whatsoever then he says the public option is wonderful in his opinion. We're supposed to buy that? The fact is that we're having this huge argument because over 50% of the public hates Obama's health care plan. We're not having it because JackSmith1 says 75% love Obama's plan. Obama's plan is less than worthless, the public hates it. Now the public is being attacked by leftist as ignorant. What a way to win an argument--telling half the population that they're ignorant! We need to run Obama and his ilk out of town on a rail like that loser Jimmy Carter

Posted by: josephpturner | August 11, 2009 10:27 PM

Liberals ask: What's wrong with the public plan? They've read a thousand posts and they still think everyone who objects to Obama is a racist and stupid. What don't they get about people disliking the government running their lives?

Posted by: josephpturner | August 11, 2009 10:11 PM

If there is a public option, it will be heavilly subsidized (at least $1.5 trillion over 10 years) and will be the least cost program. Most employers will drop their existing coverage and opt for the cheapest alternative. All public employees should be forced onto the cheaper public program. Employees will have weaker coverage and eventually private insurance will go out of business. Then the federal government will be the only show in town and watch out.

Posted by: HarrisonG | August 11, 2009 9:38 PM

The problem with health care in America is COST. I don't see Obama doing anything to reduce COST. He gave the AMA a $235 billion increase in doctor's fees to get their endorsement. He wants to give another $50 million people free coverage. The total income tax collected in a year is $1 trillion. Obama's annual deficit is already $2 trillion. the cost of this is supposed to be $1 trillion but that is AFTER all kinds of illusory savings on other programs, taxes on the "wealthy" and other things that are not going to happen. We need coste REDUCED not INCREASED. this is just another part of Obama's plan to redistribute wealth that is killing our economy.

Posted by: HarrisonG | August 11, 2009 9:30 PM

your analysis is reasonable, but I think you're looking too deep. Follow the logic from the other end: absent the bailouts of the last ten months, the right wing would be noticeably more amenable to a general availability healthcare plan run by the federal government and competing with private plans, or their opposition would be less likely to manifest itself as rabid disinformation and misinformation – like calling an existing health information system a "rationing board" or end of life counseling "death panels".

Is it possible their down the rabbit hole logic is accessible to more people because of recent government bailouts? Sure, a few. But the bridge from reasonable to buying in to that kind of rhetoric requires a paranoid substructure covered with great big blocks of crazy.

Pretty much all of us know someone who has faced a lingering death and needed help dealing with the options, just as we all know people who live in fear of losing their health insurance, can't get any, or have had appropriate treatment denied by their plan as experimental or for a pre-existing condition. We all know that the current system rations care based on insurance profit motives and the luck of the draw. We all know that premiums are rising at twice the inflation rate.

Which is to say that we all know the current system functions poorly for most and not at all for some. We all know what end of life counseling is and isn't. We all know that the government not only isn't out to get us, but is generally barely aware each individual exists. That's an awful lot of known facts to dismiss to get to where the town hall shriekers are.

The bailout background may make it a little more plausible, much in the way a foil lined helmet doesn't say crazy quite as loudly as a free form aluminum hat. But the difference in decibels is pretty small.

Posted by: Clarkpark | August 11, 2009 9:02 PM

I had a kidney out because of cancer-fine otherwise-insurance company raised my rates and reduced my benefits-I wonder how many of these people against national health care have insurance? Lets put our representives on medicare and see what kind of care we would get. Lets ban paid lobbyist and solve 99% of our problems.Get rid of the rich and powerful who care for no one but themselves and wealthy friends.

Posted by: libra4491ab | August 11, 2009 8:50 PM

The neo-con line is that everything about government is bad.
You have to remember, the military is part of the U.S. government. All military personnel receive their checks from the U.S. Treasury. All the veteran health care is provided by the government. Medicare and Medicaid are also U.S. government programs.
By the neo-cons stating that all about government is bad, are they saying that they hate our military? I hope not! This would be a most un-American admission by the neo-cons.
I have had enough of the lie that everything about the government is bad and ineffectively run. The average salaries for the CEOs of the health insurance companies is 11.9 million! How can such health insurance companies be competitive with such excesses! Let us be real! If you neo-cons are claiming that government programs are inefficient, how about health insurance companies that are commonly denying treatment for the sick based on a profit motive. Who said that those who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones?

Posted by: GlennF1 | August 11, 2009 8:42 PM

LiberalBasher, you lead the parade of ignorant, foolish blowhards who don't have a clue what you're talking about.

If you want to keep your private insurance, keep it! Nobody is talking about taking it away from you! You are damned lucky if you can afford insurance outside of your employment -- most people can't afford that anymore, since premiums have risen 400% while wages have stagnated, so you are probably fairly well-off.

Are you trying to say that your heart attack wouldn't be treated under reformed healthcare? That's total B.S., and you know it! There is no rationing being proposed anywhere! No "death panels" or anything of the sort. Not there.

Obama is NOT proposing single payer healthcare, such as is found in most other industrialized countries in the world. The most he is going after is a public OPTION, where people who cannot get insurance otherwise would be able to purchase it (at subsidized rates, if they meet income requirements) from a pool of private companies -- just like government workers do now.

All this crap about socialism is so over-the-top it's sickening. I just watched a clip on TV of some woman screeching at Arlen Spector at a townhall meeting about how she thinks our country is becoming like Russia. Get real, folks. The government is already involved in our lives in many, many ways, and I seriously doubt whether you all want to give up your public schools, your community police forces and firefighters, your state and Interstate highways, the Veteran's Affairs department (including medical care for veterans), as well as Medicare and Social Security. LiberalBasher, when you get old enough to qualify for those latter two programs, are you going to turn them down? Send the Social Security checks back, and refuse Medicare benefits? Seriously? And do you all think that Canada and England and France and Germany and Australia and New Zealand and so forth and so on -- all those countries that do provide a universal health policy -- are communist? They all seem pretty capitalistic to me, and none of them have had their economies totally collapse. And as far as I know, in any of those countries, if you want to get some level of care that is not covered, you are free to pay for it privately.

The health insurance companies -- not your doctors -- are the people who are making your healthcare decisions now. If you don't understand this, God help you. And those insurance companies are interested only in making a profit, which they have been doing at record levels in the last few years. And it's all at your expense! The whole free-market must be allowed to compete and it will bring down expenses! thing has clearly not been working, folks. It's just not! Our costs go up and up and up and the benefits have gone down, with more and more exclusions and higher and higher deductibles.

You can swear at me all you want, but all you're doing is exposing what a fool YOU are.


Posted by: sally1860 | August 11, 2009 8:19 PM

Today's event showed what a disconnect there is between the screaming mobs against health care and most rational Americans.

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

Posted by: parkerfl1 | August 11, 2009 8:10 PM

Dan Balz gives the GOP side of the argument too much credit. It is hard to take the opposition to Obama seriously when the protestors are mostly elderly folks who have Medicare and don't seem to know that it is a government program. This is not a debate between competing political philosophies. This is a debate between the intelligent and the ignorant. Thankfully, the smart people are in power and Obama will get good legislation passed that will help enlightened and ignorant Americans alike.

Posted by: khyber900 | August 11, 2009 8:10 PM

Democrats don't know how to fight and Republicans don't know how to lead.

Sad, sorry situation!

Posted by: Maddogg | August 11, 2009 7:59 PM

The public option, as I understand it, would be available to folks who don't have another affordable option, like private insurance. Why would anyone be opposed to such a plan?

Let's say an individual worker has a job at a small business, maybe a espresso coffee fat-free stand. Hundreds of people stop in and buy a cup of java everyday. The worker may not have a private insurance option because the business is too small to provide any benefits. Here are a few options:
1. close the business because it just a coffee shop and avoids business taxes
2. fire the employee because they are not contributing to a caffeine-drug war
3. allow the employee to buy cheap, minimum public insurance, and allow the employee to join a pool of similiar workers for the purpose of buying low-cost insurance.

Who does not want the uninsured to be able to buy low-cost public insurance?

Let's say you are an insurance company exec, and you make a 6-figure income. Your company pays a high insurance premium for you; and takes a tax write-off. Your insurance covers high-cost treatments like cancer treatments, and heart transplants. You know you can do whatever you want in life, because if you get sick, heaven forbid, your high insurance premiums will pay out for the best possible treatment.

Here are a few options for execs:
1. transfer to an off-shore location to avoid paying more taxes than your neighbor
2. stop working and join the circus or become a lobbyist to maintain financial domination over most of your neighbors
3. hold your nose while those less fortunate uninsured families buy a low-cost public insurance plan. You know your premium plan will remain the same.

How does public insurance threaten private insurance? Every right thinking voter knows the government cannot do anything right. Every right thinking voter knows private enterprise is right about most everything, except maybe running city hall. Every right thinking voter knows only the individual is right, the government just messes up, and wastes money.

Left leaning voters hang on to your principals: we are our brothers keeper.

Posted by: rmorris391 | August 11, 2009 7:53 PM

Had a relative who died during the Clinton era with the cost containment policies on health care benefits for military dependents being reduced. Seniors access to resources are being reduced by this administration. There will be a continued trend to reduce resources and contain costs to the American taxpayer with regard to health care options. Be careful what you wish for...and let your politicians know that you are not gullible.

Posted by: Tinker4 | August 11, 2009 7:45 PM

"This should make clear to anyone just what these power-drunk elitists think of your opinion.

http://reaganiterepublicanresistance.blogspot.com
Posted by: ReaganiteRepublican | August 11, 2009 7:20 PM "

does having your own website make you feel powerful when you express your opinion?

Posted by: genewebster | August 11, 2009 7:44 PM

Health care should be like education where we have public schools and private schools. Those who don't like public education can pay or go wherever.

Furthermore, the doctors and nurses o the public system should be dedicated employees, not in private practice.

If no private practice doctors are interested, then BRING doctors from other countries and hire them only for that purpose. There are lots of excellent doctors in third world countries that would be happy to accept. This would be in perfect accord to "global economy" theories advocated by the great economists, would say.

Posted by: ElMugroso | August 11, 2009 7:23 PM

I'd be careful of ANY-thing Obama says now- he's already shown himself to be a shameless liar... and he's increasingly desperate.

Now the DNC is deploying AFL-CIO palookas while at the same time hypocritically dismissing Obamacare opponents as paid shills -even running TV ads to slander them- and delirious SanFranNan is seeing imaginary Swastikas.

This should make clear to anyone just what these power-drunk elitists think of your opinion.

Note that whenever Obama, Emanuel, or Gibbs are asked about why polls show SO many people oppose their misguided Cap-n-Trade and Obamacare proposals, they ALWAYS segue-right-into “we need to educate the public…”.

LOL- save your breath... Constitutionally-aware American patriots don’t take lectures from Marxists.

http://reaganiterepublicanresistance.blogspot.com

Posted by: ReaganiteRepublican | August 11, 2009 7:20 PM

Really? A proxy fight over big government? Could you possibly invent a more politically right wing framing for a front page "news" article/analysis? Was it fed to the Washington Post by AEI, or by the Hoover folks, or maybe by Newt Gingrich? But you don't need those people do you, because the Washington Post is already its own well established far right think tank.

The fight over health care and insurance reform is a "proxy battle" over whether we have a "screw you, I've got mine" society, versus a society that has some some measure of justice and decency toward all of its members.

Or maybe it's not a proxy fight over anything at all. Maybe it's just a fight about exactly what it seems to be to any objective observer....about whether we join the modern world and insure our citizens, or not.

Put that in a headline, how about it?

Posted by: mike777r | August 11, 2009 7:18 PM

As far as the protesters, the way I see it is that IF the republicans don't understand the wording of the plan...

that its about the ability for setting up a will, etc.

I can see how they can be so angry at the implication that someone is finally telling them they are going to die someday and to plan for it.

Posted by: genewebster | August 11, 2009 6:55 PM

This entire stage of noise baffles me. Here's why:

1) The largest block of people that would benefit from the proposed health care changes on a daily basis, are the ones making the most noise and seemingly, the least informed.

2) When we use and enjoy the US Postal Service or the US Federal highway system or the FDA (food inspection and safety); or Medicare - no one wants that dismantled or to have it taken away because it is a Federal syste;

Are we so dumb that we don't understand that if we as a larger group, pool our money - we can get accomplish more vs. having just a state pay for it;

3) Are all of these countries socialistic: Taiwan, Australia, Sweden, Spain, Italy, Norway, Portugal, Greece and New Zealand, Japan, Israel,UK, Canada. I don't think so, but yet they all have a system closer to what we're trying to get proposed and have healthier medical outcomes than we do for less money. (Can utilizes 36 percent less of its gross domestic product to health care than the United States, there's virtually no consumer cost at the time of service, and essential care is widely available.)

4) Simple Strategy: Why doesn't the Obama administration flash similar data across the news media and quiet these ill-informed, scared debate stoppers with data.

4a) If the RX industry; hospitals; AMA and the unions are all in favor of the proposed system changes - they should be engaged in this information war so that a non-governmental mouth piece can objectively trumpet the facts.

It would really be a shame of the likes of "Sarah-I can't name a newspaper I read" Palin would be credited with denying people in her income bracket, and intellect from gaining access to healthcare as is being proposed.

Posted by: CitizenA | August 11, 2009 6:45 PM

Republicans are just dumb. Years after Ronald Reagan gave, by law, illegal aliens free access to America he (Reagan) is still hailed as a hero by his people....even as they now reject his policies.

The Republicans controlled Congress for some twelve years and did nothing to abate illegal aliens. Now all of a sudden its a problem with medical care.

I'm afraid that since Hannity, Limbaugh, Coulter, and Beck took over the Republican Party leadership it is not firing on all pistons.

Posted by: Maddogg | August 11, 2009 6:26 PM

Everybody invited illegal immigrants to work their fields clean their homes, take care of their kids and run their chicken farms because they didn't have to pay them benefits or higher salaries. Even American jobs were outsourced for cheap laborers in other countries...places that treats their employees like dirt. Americans started the mess and now can't figure out how the problems got to so big.

Posted by: MILLER123 | August 11, 2009 6:19 PM

Balz,

Health Care has become the Proxy for
Health Care for the American people as it was 20, 40 and 60 years ago.

Find something else to relate it to, negatively, why don't you?

Posted by: kindfrazier | August 11, 2009 6:18 PM

Mr. Balz, I do not always agree with you, but I think you are quite right. Obama must take charge of the rest of this campaign for healthcare reform. Employ the bully pulpit to the fullest. Yes, people are worried that we are overspending and government is growing. But outside the beltway, where I live after years in DC, most people know that the spending related to the recession had to be done. We may not agree with some of the specifics. We may be angry with the banks and Wall Street, but doing nothing, as so much of the Republican leadership said, was out of the question. The fight here is not just about the size of government, however. It is about social issues also. This month has illustrated just how much racism is alive and well in many parts of America. Just look at the mass produced posters many of these protesters carry with pictures of Obama as a man in "white face" or with a Hitler mustache. Or the Southern middle aged white woman at one of the meetings theatrically shouting out "I want MY America back." We are not a post racial society.... yet. This month has also illustrated how powerful forces can inflame the poor, unemployed, and undereducated, turning many of them into angry mobs capable of violence. Those lobbying firms in DC that specialize in dirty tricks are running full tilt. Lee Atwater would be thrilled. Personally, I think this will settle down as the economy improves and people are turned off by the mobs. I also believe the Republican party has done itself a grave long term injury. We may not see any real health care reform but the memory of the battle and the courage, or lack there of, of the participants will last a long time.

Posted by: tarryh | August 11, 2009 6:17 PM

Where was the big government issue and uproar when it came to spying on American citizens. Where was the big government issue when everybody recieved their big $600 plus welfare check from the Bush Administration. Where was the refund back to the Treasury Department for this socialist move? People are ok with Big Government when it comes to projects in their neighborhoods. But when it comes to somebody elses neighorhood than its call pork. Many American are unemployed and need help and as an Human being and an American with a soul I am obligated to help them. If it means paying higher taxes so be it. I just glad to be able to pay my taxes.

Posted by: MILLER123 | August 11, 2009 6:10 PM

Many in the crowd laughed uproariously when Sen. Benjamin Cardin (DEMOCRUD – MD) said illegal immigrants would not be entitled to coverage under the Democratic plan.

And they jumped to their feet in one of the longest, loudest ovations of the night after an audience member asked why tort reform wasn't a feature of the health care overhaul.


Posted by: hclark1 | August 11, 2009 5:58 PM

It is refreshing we have a decent honest man in the White House after 8 years of lies and deception (WMD's and illegal spying on Americans).

With a Christian man now occupying the Oval Office citizens can be assured that those without health care will receive it soon.

We need to dismiss the Republicans and pass health care along party lines. That is what the 2008 election was all about.

Posted by: Maddogg | August 11, 2009 5:56 PM

Put a camera in a meeting and people get crazy stupid. Especially, if they had another agenda than what the meeting was originally intended for. Some of this is real discussion, but most it is nonsense. The press likes the nonsense so it makes "air." Getting people to stick to the issue of healthcare and not other issues is a hard job. Most people don't know anything about the healthcare bill so it gives them an opportunity to vent on anything and everything.

Posted by: MILLER123 | August 11, 2009 5:56 PM

Sadly, the biggest expansion of the federal government in recent memory came under the command of George W Bush and the Republicans did not even blink. Now we have spying on all Americans in their homes and 90 year old grandmothers who can't board a plane without having their shoes sniffed. In addition, we have two uncontrolled wars with no way out even though we are losing.

As electronic medical records become more common place the tendency to snoop and to deny health coverage by the private sector mounts and government must be involved.

Republicans are not aganist the expansion of government as we noted here. They are aganist a blackman sitting in the White House.

Posted by: Maddogg | August 11, 2009 5:51 PM

This article is just another example of our county's terrible journalism.

There are all kinds of lies being spun by the right-wing (including politicians) regarding healthcare reform: that it is a more toward socialism, that it will involve death panels, and so on.

Isn't it the role of the media in a democracy to provide information and correct such disinformation, such lies? This would be easy to do, as the evidence exists in black and white in the proposed bills themselves. But the media refuses to do this.

The best Dan Balz can manage is to refer to the blatant lies as "what White House officials see as a campaign of disinformation and misinformation by opponents of his health-care initiative". This is not nearly good enough, and such denial has already allowed this disinformation as escalate out of control.

An informative, non-biased media could have put this lies to rest weeks ago. Unfortunately, our media is biased by their corporate interests to allow the lies to persist, such that healthcare reform will favor them.

Posted by: dougd1 | August 11, 2009 5:50 PM

The increase in the size of the Federal Government will cause a decrease in econmic growth. Most Federal workers spend their time trying to increase their scope and control of the private sector. This latest power grab by obama will keep unemployment at 7-10 percent levels for years to come.

Posted by: yokosuka1985 | August 11, 2009 5:49 PM

Imitating Hugo Chavez and the rest of the Marxist thugs who are destroying and enslaving Latin America, Obama DEMONIZES anyone who opposes him. He also tries to pass URGENT bills and laws through lies, manipulation, intimidation, coercion and fear.

Bills and laws to CHANGE everything and enslave people are very URGENT to the Chavez-like thugs because, when people understand what's happening, they try to defend themselves.

Will we be able to defend ourselves? The Venezuelan media is at least fighting back! The U.S. mainstream is already controlled by Obama. And Obama is using OUR MONEY for additional websites to further lie, manipulate, intimidate, and coerce us into submitting to his will.

Posted by: AntonioSosa | August 11, 2009 5:48 PM

Remember when the dishonest Obama said:

-We have to pass this stimulus package so unemployment will stay below 8%?
-I won't have lobbyists in my administration?
-I'll have an open and honest administration?


Well, he's at it again, lying about what he wants in health care. The dishonest bozo can't tell the truth or there would be riots at his phony meetings.

What a disgrace the flop eared leftist liar is.

Posted by: LarryG62 | August 11, 2009 5:47 PM

Nothing obama says has any meaning if he can't be trusted.

Watch this video. You’ll see obama lie like a dog in his very own words.

http://www.breitbart.tv/naked-emperor-news-obamas-mother-of-all-political-lies-and-the-town-hall-mayhem-it-caused/comment-page-1/#comment-2529261

People need to wake up and see this lying fraud for who he is, an America hating, Saudi King bowing, dictator loving, former cocaine addict, racist Kenyan usurper dirt-bag Chicago thug!

Posted by: steveb777 | August 11, 2009 5:46 PM

THE ANTI-SOCIALIST'S GUIDE TO SURVIVAL IN AMERICA
1. Stop driving on all those public highways, try to use only private roads
2. Learn how to generate your own electricity, we don't want no 'lectricity from that socialist -built power grid
3. Drill for your own water, though many dams are privately built, it is almost impossible to separate the private from the socialist water.
4. Home-school your kids
5. Produce your own fossil fuels, since oil companies receive huge tax-breaks/subsidies surely you don't want to be using any of that socialist oil for your vehicle.
6. Grow your own food, the only way to be assured that you are not being poisoned by that socialist (farm subsidized) food is to grow your own (also, there won't be any illegals pikin' it for ya)
7. Have lots of buckets ready in case your house (or outhouse) catches fire
8. Stock up because the police will no longer protect you
9. In the case of a natural disaster, you should just be on your own, have plenty of face masks because public health will not be there to stop the spread of disease.

There's more but this is a good start, happy survivin'!

Posted by: JRM2 | August 11, 2009 5:44 PM

"Politicians invariably respond to crises -- that in most cases they themselves created -- by spawning new government programs, laws and regulations. These, in turn, generate more havoc and poverty, which inspires the politicians to create more programs ... and the downward spiral repeats itself until the productive sectors of the economy collapse under the collective weight of taxes and other burdens imposed in the name of fairness, equality and do-goodism." Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged

Posted by: AtlasShrugged1 | August 11, 2009 5:43 PM

We all would like to IMPROVE our health care system. Obamacare, however, has NOTHING to do with improving our health care system. It's just another power grab that will further destroy the U.S. and impose Marxism through lies, manipulation, intimidation and coercion.

Imitating Hugo Chavez, Obama wants to nationalize everything, including our health care system! "Hey, Obama has just nationalized nothing more and nothing less than General Motors. Comrade Obama!" Chavez cheered on Venezuelan TV a few days ago. He added that he and Cuba's Fidel Castro would now have to work harder just to keep up.
http://www.hacer.org/report/2009/06/us-obamas-red-chorus-investors-business.html

Posted by: AntonioSosa | August 11, 2009 5:41 PM

It's a sad state of affairs that there are so many people in this Nation are misinformed and even worse "null and void", when it comes to the State of the Union.
Where were all these people when the Cheney/Bush Administration were running the Federal Debt, invading two countries and giving the most wealthiest Americans 'tax cuts'? It boggles the mind that so much "stupidity", exist within the Borders of this Country.
"How can a nation Rally behind it's Leaders to invade another Country under 'False Pretense', yet will go to the verge of a Civil War, when it comes to Health Care Reform for all Americans?

Our enemies can rest easy, for America is bringing an end to it's own 'Demise'.

"There is nothing more frightening than Active Ignorance."

Posted by: austininc4 | August 11, 2009 5:39 PM

I'm sick of the pundits' false dichotomy in which liberals always favour bigger government while conservatives want it smaller. That is how conservatives like to portray themselves, but there's not a shred of evidence that it's true.

Conservatives seek to introduce the police into citizens' bedrooms and to legislate morality.

Conservatives love to expand the very parts of government that are most associated with impinging on people's freedom. Weird Pentagon agencies that conduct domestic spying. Homeland Security and other secret police types.

The prison-industrial complex. It's almost entirely because of draconian laws passed by conservatives that the US locks up far more of its citizens than any other country in the world, including Burma, North Korea, Zimbabwe, Iran, China, whatever.

US conservatives love war, which is a big government project if ever there was one. Far from wanting Washington to butt out of their own lives, their goal is for Washington to butt into the lives of people around the world who aren't even US citizens. Ask the citizens of Iraq how good a job US conservatives did of keeping the US Federal Government out of their face.

Nor have they ever shown the slightest sign of being serious about reducing govt spending. They reduce govt tax revenue, usually while increasing spending. Their ultimate hero, Ronald Reagan, ballooned the federal debt more than any other US president. Unless the Government has no intention of paying its debts, that spending will ultimately have to be covered by taxes raised by other, more responsible presidents. So it's more government growth, because it grows the government's obligations, which the ordinary citizen must ultimately make good.

Of course the president who finally bites the bullet and raises the money to pay Reagan's debts, or Bush's, will be viciously attacked by conservatives for seeking to "expand government".

Posted by: bourassa1 | August 11, 2009 5:36 PM

He's an example of the kind of things Obama doesn't want us to talk about. Take the experience of my mother...she's one of the 46 million uninsured...thanks to the Federal Government! About four months ago she was declared dead by Social Security. This came as a surprise to her to say the least. She went into the local Soc. Sec. office and demonstrated that she was still alive and got a letter to that effect from Soc.Sec. But then the fun begins...they still went on to cancel her Medicare, cancelling her private Insurance and froze her bank accounts. It's now been three months and many meetings later, including intervention by her Congressman's office. She still has no final resolution. The folks seem genuinely incapable (and uninterested) in solving their own error...why should they, it's not liek they are a business! Sure private insurance companies have to compete for customers but not the government. Welcome to the foretaste of what my British friends call "National Health We-Don't-Care!" More government is NOT the solution!

Posted by: Drew95 | August 11, 2009 5:36 PM

Sooooo, where were the wingnuts, gun nuts, Nazi sympathizers, teabaggers, birthers, John Birchers, and Palinists when George W. Bush doubled our debt and tripled domestic surveillance in the name of "the homeland"?

Posted by: bs2004 | August 11, 2009 5:31 PM

"====AND THE WORST IS YET TO COME AS THE LOONY-LEFT SOCIALISTS GOOSE-STEP THE COUNTRY DOWN THEIR "ROAD TO HELL."

Posted by: LoonyLeft | August 11, 2009 5:20 PM"
---
My what a short memory you have, how could have things been ANY worse just before Jan. 2009?

Nearly every accusation you mentioned was initiated by the previous administration.

Posted by: JRM2 | August 11, 2009 5:29 PM

"Funny too how dissent is no longer patriotic now that Bush is gone.

Posted by: maxtel1910 | August 11, 2009 3:16 PM"
----
We are trying to have a Democratic process that is being trampled on by a few citizens who have been lied to by corporations and instructed on how to disrupt so no one can have a civil discourse on legislation who's overarching principle is to try to help control costs and help Americans for health and economic reasons. Death-panels?

Bush on the other hand was protested for sending our sons and daughters to their deaths into a war that was based on lies.

Posted by: JRM2 | August 11, 2009 5:26 PM

The loony-left d-crat socialists have nationalized the American finance industry, the American auto industry and the American banking industry, and will soon nationalize the American healthcare industry They will eventually get around to nationalizing all aspects of the oil industry as well. National socialism requires the bloated federal government have absolute control of EVERYTHING.

Name ONE government program that is well-managed.

Along with his "War-on-Wealth" - which favors a socialized re-distribution of wealth from hard-working American citizens to slugs and slackers - hussein is now embarking on a "War-Against-Healthcare".

Once again, his goal is socialization - government-controlled and restricted healthcare which will limit services to the elderly (they're closest to death, so why waste limited health services on them?) and allow slugs and slackers priority in the line for health services.

"it's good enough for government work." -- remember that phrase when you're trying to get your rationed allotment of healthcare from a loony-left government bureaucrat under their socialized heathcare plan.

====AND THE WORST IS YET TO COME AS THE LOONY-LEFT SOCIALISTS GOOSE-STEP THE COUNTRY DOWN THEIR "ROAD TO HELL."

Posted by: LoonyLeft | August 11, 2009 5:20 PM

At least government policy, bigger or not, is subject to the voters at the ballot box, unlike the present, 'stacked' system of private health insurers.

Posted by: deepthroat21 | August 11, 2009 5:18 PM

I would argue against critics who said that Obama is doing too many things at the same time. As the President has explained today in the town hall meeting. In order to fix the economy, we have to fix the broken health system in America. The unions need to be more vocal and forceful in supporting health care reform over the anti-reformist voices of the health care industry. The domestic automobile industry is a perfect example. It cannot compete in the international arena, not due to lack of innovation and technology, but due to legacy costs. Yes GM, Ford, and Chrysler spend millions dollars in health care for their current employees as well for retirees as well.

The government needs to step in when this country spends a large share of its GDP on health care and insurance industries. Yet the latter have failed to provide health care to over 46 million Americans in the last few years, and they still keep on denying that fact. So where does the money go? It goes to generate wealth for those who work in these industries.

As the wealth generating industries in manufacturing quickly disappeared in the 21st Century, many unscrupulous people turn to health care as a way of making money. As a result, the world is turned upside down. Whereas, before, your grandparents and your parents were spending their money on big ticket items like appliances, automobiles, houses, and leisure activities. Today, you spend all of your money and your entire life saving to pay doctors and hospitals. This is outrageous. My mother, who died a year after being diagnosed with cancer, got covered by Medicare. Luckily, all the expenses were paid for by the governments.

The question for Americans is this. Would you rather spend your money in some other productive things than on health care? I don’t know too many people who like to spend as much as $500/day at a hospital than relaxing at a luxurious resort in Cuba for far less money. Would you rather spend money to buy a new car than spend a lot more money on an open heart surgery or treatments for diabetes? When it comes to health care in America, you as a patient and a consumer are and will always be in a lose-lose situation. This is because medical care is expensive, and your doctors and hospitals cannot guarantee you will fully recover and lead a productive life after treatment.

Posted by: mnguyen4 | August 11, 2009 5:12 PM


I'm still trying to see what Mexican immigrants have to do with health care.

Because when you say "illegal," everyone knows you mean Mexico.

So, tell me this -- without _________ immigrants, who's going to harvest your food? Are you willing to pay more for food? How much more? Do you want the government to step in then, if and when there's a problem with food production because we can't get illegal/legal Mexican immigrants to bring in the crops?

If you think the government is "too big" now, just wait when people are hungry.

Oh, but that's right. It's more fun to introduce irrelevant neo-con talking points into every issue this country faces. That's how you get things done.

Posted by: tony_in_Durham_NC | August 11, 2009 4:45 PM

I am from MA and see no need to create a competitive public plan. MA uses a subsidized plan for the poor but still requires that they responsibly contribute. The subsidized plan is negotiate with the insurers and not government run. I think that it has been successful

With regard to the rest of the reform. I believe that the government must create a stronger transparency system for insurers and providers around cost and quality by establishing rules and regulations and publishing them.

Further it must make individuals accountable for their own health. I don't want the gov't or my doctor responsible for me. I have my own responsibility for myself.

The cost of care to me should be, in part, based upon my compliance with my responsibilities.

Namely
Annual physicals
No Smoking or illegal drugs
Maintaining a healthy body weight
Controlling my cholesterol
Exercising regularly
Complying with my medical and pharmaceutical instructions by my MD

Posted by: RmW1 | August 11, 2009 4:43 PM

President Obama speaks like a person who knows the score. He doesn't threaten or intimidate. He knows the enemy; and, sadly, the enemy walks among us.

The pressure for big government comes from the actions of a few: the fat cats out there who use every chance to rob the poor. Government may have wasteful spending habits, but how do you explain the big meltdown in the private sector which has led to all of the chaos of late?

Posted by: EarlC | August 11, 2009 4:38 PM

Health care reform. Easy, population control. Pay people not to have children. No longer accept ANY imigrants, doesn't matter what country or what reasons. no more allowed in.

Your already going to ration people, your liars if you say your not. Life threatening illness, let em die. Thats what your talking about doing already anyway with the elderly anyway. Lets be fair about this and apply that to EVERYONE. Youngens, got cancer. To bad, die. That's right, we are equal opertunity killers here. We do not just apply rationing to a specific segment of the population like the liberals want to, we apply it to everyone.

This way, everyone can die equally.

You say I'm harsh. Guess what you scum sucking liberals. I just had a heart attack. I pay for my insurance. my employment does not. I am VERY HAPPY how I was treated and the way the bill's were paid. I do not want scum like you dictating what I can and can not do with my choices about health care. If that is the case I have to bow to you scum suckers, then we all go down together. And when enough of us die because of YOU F'n liberals, it will be made right by allowing people their own choice again. And future generations will never have to deal with scum like you taking away people's hard earned rights.

Posted by: LiberalBasher | August 11, 2009 4:35 PM

"Had Obama not had to confront an economy in such bad straits, the issue of how much government he was embracing might not have become so heated."

Reactions to HRC's attempt indicate that it would have been heated anyway.

Obama (& HRC) would have had a better chance if they had chosen evolution over revolution of the health care/insurance system.

Despite the bumper stickers, people really don't like too much change.

Posted by: HughJassPhD | August 11, 2009 4:35 PM

Rick Wagoner should have been gone the same time that Ford hired Alan Mulally. Their board was weak.

Posted by: Gator-ron | August 11, 2009 4:29 PM

Uhhh...

Almost ALL debates between the two parties is a proxy debate over the size of the federal government.

Hello? Have you even be paying attention at any time in your life?

Jeez.

Posted by: HughJassPhD | August 11, 2009 4:28 PM

ProfessorWrightBSU

Very sensible post. I frankly have a hard time understanding why you consider yourself a Republican. A true Republican would consider you a Republican in name only. You do not recite the party line.

Posted by: Gator-ron | August 11, 2009 4:25 PM

The lies spewed out by the right are incredible to me. Apparently, they have learned that the press will no longer challenge anything they say, even the vilest lie. Thus Sarah Palin can say that hospice is a board of death, when in fact, it is a true God send to anyone facing a terminal illness. I cannot imagine trying to get through what I experienced when my wife died of breast cancer at the age of 59. My four children and I will forever defend this organization against the lunies, even if the Post no longer has the moral compass to do so.

Posted by: gss49 | August 11, 2009 4:21 PM

The Health Care fight is a proxy over mediocre white people losing their sense of social entitlement. The size and power of the Federal Government has already been grossly expanded over the last 78 years with each successive administration adding to its power.

The ignorance demonstrated by the questions and the hysterics of the screamers at these meetings show that this is a visceral cry of a social class that was long ago rendered irrelevant by moneyed (and educated) Republicans and educated (and moneyed) Democrats.

Posted by: jmccas | August 11, 2009 4:19 PM

We should ask all those who want socialized medicine and a socialist/communist country to please move to Cuba or North Korea! They have no right to transform the U.S. into a failed socialist country like Cuba just because they are dumbed down, as per Pravda: http://english.pravda.ru/opinion/columnists/107459-american_capitalism-0

Posted by: AntonioSosa | August 11, 2009 4:17 PM

How can anyone believe that paying TRILLIONS of dollars for additional bureaucracy is going to improve anything? Adding TRILLIONS to our deficit so Obama can pay his private armies of ACORN-type government workers -- to provide us with "end-of-life" (death) counseling and to decide who lives or dies – is NOT GOING TO SAVE US MONEY.

Obamacare will only increase our deficit, further steal from our children and grandchildren, further deteriorate health care, and further destroy our country.

To fix our health care problems, we need to go in the OPPOSITE direction in which Obama is taking us. A socialized health care system would be another step to destroy our country, our future and the future of our children and grandchildren! LEARN about the horrendous problems of government-controlled medicine everywhere where it’s implemented, including Taiwan -- http://www.thrf.org.tw/EN/Page_Show.asp?Page_ID=124

And Taiwan does not have a Chavez-like Obama! With a Chavez-like Obama, government-controlled medicine would be much more corrupt, costly and destructive in the U.S.

Posted by: AntonioSosa | August 11, 2009 4:15 PM

i am a republican. i am interested in a public healthcare program. i think it will enable american citizens to attempt to start their own businesses without having fear of losing health coverage while they struggle for those first 3 years that are so crucial to a businesses success.

the republican party is paying lip service to the small business man.

approximately 8% of my income will go to health care. that is based on coverage payments, and a pre-tax plan that I have been drawing from that I exhausted in 6 months. Add that to the 3% (self-employed pay both 1.5% individual and 1.5% business tax) that I already gets taken out of my money for medicare. 11% of my income goes to healthcare. Why would I care whether that 11% goes to a health insurance company or the federal government?

Posted by: ProfessorWrightBSU | August 11, 2009 4:11 PM

When Obama was running for President, those of us familiar with Castro, Chavez, and the rest of the Marxist thugs who are destroying Latin America recognized Obama’s kinship with them. Obama’s campaign strategy -- based on lies, manipulation, intimidation and fraud, with overwhelming support from a corrupt media -- was almost identical to the strategies of the Marxist thugs. Even his slogans (CHANGE and YES CAN) were the same.

However, many of us believed Americans were too smart to be fooled as the most ignorant Venezuelans, Bolivians, Ecuadorians had been fooled. We were wrong. Many Americans had been dumbed down to the point that they were fooled with fairy tale promises of CHANGE to help to poor, to end corruption… to make everything better.

And now they are being fooled again and are ready to let a Chavez-like Obama take control of their health care system!

Fortunately, not all Americans have been dumbed down, as we can see in the town halls! Most Americans have not been dumbed down and prefer to be FREE.

Posted by: AntonioSosa | August 11, 2009 4:10 PM

Okpulot Taha I feel for you. The Public Option is the only option. There are 41 million Americans uninsured and over 2 million Natives for whom the IHS does not nearly enough.

The ease with which you have been deceived by the right wing lunatics is disturbing. As a member of the Choctaw Nation you should be pulling for Health Care Reform, not criticizing those of us working for it.

anarcho-liberal-tarian
Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians
Ten year political veteran.

Posted by: anarcho-liberal-tarian | August 11, 2009 3:47 PM

I can always count on you to not know what the hell you're talking about balzless. I'd much rather have a government under the proper control of its citizens than vile corporations calling the shots in secret as is now the case.

Reading the opinion section of WAPO is like entering the ring of a battle royale. Even blindfolded one knows they are likely to punch someone deserving.

You are a toady to wealth and right wing zionism.

Posted by: mot2win | August 11, 2009 3:40 PM

Dan and W.Post: It is this kind of silly articles that spread misinformation. The bush years got us into this $ mess all the way back to Regean when suspenion of rules and regulations went through from airlines, phones, banks and an illegal war. Iraq has a budget surplus with national health care and where is the repay from thier oil for US?
Health care is the main thing that keeps this country in poverty and a rank 37th over all in providing and delivery. The citizen of the US PAY for congress out of our taxes to take 7 weeks paid vacation and with great health care while we -middle and working class-suffer For shame on you for such an unbalanced article. For SHAME!

Posted by: crrobin | August 11, 2009 3:33 PM

I just do not understand the passion that is involved in the healthcare debate.

We just had trillions of dollars stolen out of our pockets, Banks nickle and dime us to death, we have an infant mortality rate that is worse than Cuba. We pay twice as much for healthcare than any other democratic country but don't live any longer.
To the people who keep uttering the mantra "low taxes less governmnet" what country would you like to emulate?. Mexico?
Pakistan? India, present day Russia?.

Posted by: JillCalifornia | August 11, 2009 3:33 PM

Well, somebody has to pay for the care and feeding of third world immigrant invaders. So for the blessing of their company we should give up free speech, decent health care, and most of what we earn. We should also not get too upset when our loved ones are viciously attacked in the street by Mexican gang bangers or raped by Nigerians claiming they have PTSD. It's all good, like the smirking Chucky Schumer says.

Posted by: greg3 | August 11, 2009 3:30 PM

Jack Smith:
Fabrications like yours are the reason Obama has a credibility gap which is undermining his poll numbers.

The big losers in single payer will be the middle class. The rich always have options. The uninsured will have one they didn't have. The middle class will have considerably less care but pay considerably more money. Democrats are trying to hijack health care reform onto the road to single payer. The passengers have just figured this out and are fighting back. Democrats act surprised and demand to know who's behind all this "un-American" activity. Funny how Middle America becomes the Fringe when you move far enough to the Left. Funny too how dissent is no longer patriotic now that Bush is gone.

Posted by: maxtel1910 | August 11, 2009 3:16 PM

This article is incomplete without a comparison with the consequences of an impotent national government such as we experienced in 2001-2009. The failures of the government during the Bush years led to economic crisis, waste of over a $trillion in tax dollars in Iraq for no benefit, incompetent responses to national disasters such as Katrina, and failure to address national problems like education, energy, and healthy care. Evaluating Obama without this context is a flawed process.

Posted by: cdierd1944 | August 11, 2009 3:06 PM

It's always fun to read the comments and contrast some of them to President Obama's rational, calm approach to politics.

Those on the fringe scream and yell and insult. President Obama moves the stimulus bill to passage. The fringe yells and stomps even more loudly. Cap and trade passes the House of Representatives. The fringe goes ballistic on health care. The national debate continues, over the din and babble of fringe.

Those on the fringe . . . keep cursing and insulting and yelling and screaming. Go ahead, make my day.

Posted by: guitar1 | August 11, 2009 2:54 PM

Deliver us from the rationed care of the Nsurance industry.

Posted by: FirstMouse1 | August 11, 2009 2:49 PM

I read the comment from "Jack Smith" who, I must say, is insane or cannot read the polls. The exact opposite of what he says is true: The majority of the American People ARE AGAINST THE GOVT. SINGLE PAYER PLAN AND ARE MOST CERTAINLY AGAINST THE TAKEOVER OF THE HEALTHCARE INDUSTRY BY THIS "CHICAGO WAY" OF DOING BUSINESS. I listened to Senator Specter's townhall meeting this morning and believe me, it was on point, respectful, but highly skeptical of him and this administration. Except for one or two in the room of approx. 200, everyone was against this takeover and this plan.

Posted by: marine2211 | August 11, 2009 2:46 PM

Note to Democrats and the few sane Republicans who desire to hold Town Hall meetings........check ID's at the door and if they aren't from your district don't let them in...they shouldn't be admitted to town meetings when the town isn't theirs.

As to the fool pretending to be a native american at the same time as being a lying rightwing hater.....you are henceforth Chisf Humpasquirrel.

Posted by: mot2win | August 11, 2009 2:38 PM

Jack Smith is a patsy for the Dems, a paid operative, or simply uninformed or brain-washed. The 2 biggest government run health care plans, Medicare and Medicaid, are financial disasters, impossible to navigate for providers, and insufficient in terms of coverage for the Americans they supposedly cover. The bills proposed by the House don't provide any evidence that the HUGE new taxpayer supported government run program will be any more efficient. Keep the Government OUT of the healthcare business. They've already shown that they stink as big business administrators.

Posted by: kdog6890 | August 11, 2009 2:38 PM

WHY DOES OBAMA WASTE BILLIONS ON STIMULUS WITHOUT ANY PROBLEM........

but for ElderCare???

forget it--Obama demands Euthanasia.

See its NOT about money or healthcare. Its about the Culture of Death, Baby Abortion and ElderAbortion.

Obama's woldview embraces the Culture of Death.

ObamaCare is just a means to that end.

Posted by: JaxMax | August 11, 2009 2:36 PM

One would hope that Americans would begin listening to their president on this issue now that he's back on the figurative campaign trail instead of following the scare tactics from right-wing crazies.

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

Posted by: parkerfl1 | August 11, 2009 2:25 PM

THIS IS IT!

More than two thirds of the American people want a single payer health care system. And if they cant have a single payer system 76% of all Americans want a strong government-run public option on day one (85% of democrats, 71% of independents, and 60% of republicans). Basically everyone.

AND NO INSURANCE MANDATES WITHOUT A STRONG GOVERNMENT-RUN PUBLIC OPTION ON DAY ONE! An insurance mandate without a strong government-run public option choice on day one, would be a DISASTER! And it would be worse than the GREED DRIVEN PRIVATE FOR PROFIT HEALTH INSURANCE HORROR! SHOW you have now. YOU MUST MAKE CERTAIN!! THAT DOES NOT HAPPEN AMERICA.

The healthcare reform bills released by the first two committees of the House Of Representatives are excellent bills as I understand them. They are bills with a strong, robust, government-run public option, and an intelligent, reasonable initial funding plan to cover almost all of the American people. They are carefully written, and thoughtfully constructed, informed, prudent and wise. These bills will save trillions of dollars, and millions of your lives. They are also now supported by the AMA.

These are the type of bills that all Americans can feel good about. And these are the type of bills that have the potential to dramatically improve the quality of healthcare for all Americans. Rich, middle class and poor a like. Democrats, Republicans, Independents, and all other party affiliations. These bills have the potential to dramatically improve the quality of life of every American.

The house healthcare bills released by the first two committees should be viewed as the minimum GOLD STANDARD by which all other proposed healthcare legislation should be judged. All supporters of true high quality healthcare reform should now place all your support behind these healthcare reform bills released by the first two committees of the United States House Of Representatives, as the minimum Gold standard for healthcare reform in America.

You should all now support the first two committees bills with all your might, and all of your unrelenting tenacity. These first two House committees healthcare bills are VERY, VERY GOOD! bills for all of the American people. Fight tooth, and nail for every bit of these bills if you have too. Be aggressive, creative, and relentless for these bills.

From this time forward, go BIGGER and DEEPER with the American people every day until passage of healthcare reform with a robust, government-run public option.

FIGHT!! like your life and the lives of your loved ones depends on it. BECAUSE IT DOES!

SPREAD THE WORD

Senator Bernie Sanders on healthcare (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RSM8t_cLZgk&feature=player_embedded)

God Bless You

Jack Smith — Working Class

Posted by: JackSmith1 | August 11, 2009 2:18 PM

As expected the Portsmouth town hall meeting is a carefully scripted and crafted publicity event. No tough questions, no meaningful questions for Obama. So far, only loyal supporter questions aimed at Obama's usual talking points. Portsmouth is a fabricated deceitful facade.

Those outside, protesters against Obama arrived in private cars, drove for miles, are carrying hand written signs; little evidence of an organized effort.

Those who support Obama arrived on buses provided by the DNC, are carrying mass produced professional quality signs, are equipped with bull horns. Almost all are union members. Clear evidence of an organized effort.

This contrast in the two sides well highlights Obama, Pelosi, Democrats and left liberals in general, are simply lying through their teeth to America.

The ease with which Obama, Pelosi and the rest, this ease of their telling lies to America informs me none of them can be trusted farther than you can flick a sticky booger. Democrats are serving only to prove themselves hypocritical liars, least to those of us who are at least moderately intelligent.

Okpulot Taha
Choctaw Nation
Puma Politics

Posted by: PurlGurl | August 11, 2009 2:09 PM

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