The Trail: A Daily Diary of Campaign 2008


Health Care

Obama Promises Clarity on Health Care

By Garance Franke-Ruta
Not content to leave the pre-spinning of his health-care speech tonight to aides, President Obama appeared on ABC's "Good Morning America" Wednesday morning to set up some expectations for the evening's remarks.

In the interview, taped Tuesday night, Obama said he intends to offer "a lot of clarity about what I think is the best way to move forward" and "a much more detailed plan" than the "core principles that I've already laid out previously."

But he also raised the specter of GOP opposition regardless of what he lays out. "I think there are some in the Republican Party who made a strategic decision that we can duplicate what happened in 1993, '94," Obama said, referring to how Republicans won back Congress after helping thwart President Clinton's health-care reform efforts. "I think that folks are dusting off that old playbook."

"There is still just this unyielding partisanship," he said. "In some ways, I think it's gotten worse" since taking office.

Obama said there were lines in the sand -- "principles that, if they're not embodied in the bill, I will not sign it" -- but declined to say when pressed that a public option was one of them. "If it's adding one dime to the deficit, if it's not fully paid for, then I will not be supportive," he said.

And the president once again blasted critics for filling up "the airwaves with a lot of nonsense -- everything from ... death panels to false notions that this was designed to provide health insurance to illegal immigrants." But he also acknowledged that he had "probably left too much ambiguity out there" about what a plan should contain.

"None of the bills that worked their way through Congress ever envisioned" the notion "of a government takeover of health care," he said.

The Republican National Committee this morning blasted out a pre-buttal of the remarks, noting that tonight will represent Obama's 28th event on health care since Feb. 4.

"The only things new about Obama's speech pushing government-run health care are the date and venue," the RNC said in a statement.

Posted at 11:48 AM ET on Sep 9, 2009  | Category:  Health Care
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Republicans are not and have not been interested in bi-partisan solutions. Their cabal ran our country into the ground these past eight years. Stand up to them, Mr. President, or the jackals will eat you alive. Change should begin tonight: tell the Republicans you're passing this for the good of the country and if Republicans want to protect the wealthy, that's their prerogative. No big surprise there. You are president and you control congress. Run over the Republicans, please. They will never support you no matter what course you take. Forget it. Move on!

Posted by: medogsbstfrnd | September 9, 2009 2:57 PM

Obama speaks words but most are hollow. He speaks of bipartisanship but has not invited the Republican leadership to the White House to discuss Health Care since April. If he says what he really believes his polls would drop even faster and he would be forced out of the White House. If his collusion with the NYT, GE and others were really known by the public he would be impeached and put in prison.

Obama is all about power and subversion of freedom. I thought Bush was bad until we were handed Obama.

Posted by: georgiarat | September 9, 2009 2:29 PM

Stoner1 wrote: "I will become a true believer when Obama can explain how he can create 50 million new patients without adding any new doctors or nurses to treat them and cause costs to decrease and quality to improve as a result. Even a President can not alter reality."

Ah but you do not see the reality. Think about it: If someone is in a car accident do the EMTs who show up in the ambulance check his insurance card before treating him? Or do they quickly load him into the ambulance and take him to the hospital? Once at the hospital does the poor soul wait while his insurance is verified or is he in the ER with doctors doing their best to save his life? And, once stabalized and his life saved, does the hospital kick him out of the hospital if he does not have insurance?

The reality is that everyone gets health care, just not everyone pays for it. Those 50 million go to the ER when sick and don't pay a dime. Instead you pay through higher hospital fees. The hospitals must pay for the freebees somehow after all. And thanks to higher hospital fees you get to pay higher insurance premiums.

So, unless you want health care to be like car repair, where the car does not get fixed until you show insurance or your money first, you need to think not in terms of NEW patients but in terms of the existing non-paying patients.

And God help you if you lose your job and health care with it. It happened to me whe a company I worked for went under. None of my other insurance disappeared, just health. And to get new health insurance the cost was much higher, yet my health had not changed. When did anyone lose their car insurance after losing a job only to find its cost quadrupled? The system is insane and needs to be fixed. In all the industrialized nations only in America can a person get sick, accumulate huge high health care costs, then lose their home and savings. We can do better. We're America after all.

Posted by: Fate1 | September 9, 2009 1:23 PM

"Obama Promises Clarity on Health Care"

Reading that elicted the biggest laugh of the day.

Posted by: NeverLeft | September 9, 2009 1:17 PM

I do not think he will really be able to offer much clarity about the type of plan he wants. The problem is that the majority of Americans do not want his plan. So far President Obama has spent more time attacking those that disagree with the plan.

We need Health care reform but so far I have not heard of anything groundbreaking in this plan. It mostly just adds complication to the current system.

Posted by: HockeyMike351 | September 9, 2009 1:08 PM

I will become a true believer when Obama can explain how he can create 50 million new patients without adding any new doctors or nurses to treat them and cause costs to decrease and quality to improve as a result. Even a President can not alter reality.

Posted by: Stoner1 | September 9, 2009 1:00 PM


The President's main problem is of his own making. He has shown a reticence to fight for principle. He won the presidency on the platform of "Change We Can Believe In," not appeasement and accommodation. Rhetoric alone will no longer cut it; Obama must show boldness, a willingness to fully engage.

He should admit that allowing Congress to write the health care bills was a mistake -- that he should have proffered a comprehensive bill that incorporated his vision of reform, with the understanding that Congressional input would shape the final draft.

He should support and defend the public option, rather than prematurely negotiating it away. If he cannot defend the public option, doesn't that make Medicare and Medicaid vulnerable to those on the right who would seek the elimination of those alleged "big government" programs?

He should include in his definition of the public option the concept of health care co-ops -- since a cooperative scheme would place ownership in the hands of individual members, not the government (although government would rightfully underwrite and insure the integrity of any co-op system).

If Obama fails to come down from the mountain, admit mistakes and defend core principles, his rhetoric will ring hollow and his end goal of affordable quality health care for all will remain elusive.



Access to health care doesn't help untold thousands of unjustly targeted Americans recover from the devastating physiological effects of being silently irradiated by microwave and laser radiation "directed energy weapons"...

...the weaponization of the electromagnetic spectrum, a silent "final solution" that may have the nation's political leadership in its ideological cross-hairs. The full story, below:

Posted by: scrivener50 | September 9, 2009 12:57 PM

"ohioan:Its not partisanship, its basic philosophical differences."
toe-may-toe, toe-mah-toe.
Time to face facts:
Most Americans DO want a public option.
The birth certificate is REAL!

Posted by: com1rich | September 9, 2009 12:48 PM

Why the "unyielding partisanship"? Racism, no. Ideology, no. The GOP is feels wounded and cornered - and rightfully so. They have been on the losing end of the stick, now, for quite some time, and can see only one way out: America MUST FAIL under the democrats. Too bad they have "dug in" on something so dear to us as health care.

Posted by: com1rich | September 9, 2009 12:39 PM

Its not partisanship, its basic philosophical differences. Conservatives
believe in reforming the existing market through: 1) opening up interstate commerce for "true competition" and more options for health insurance 2) torte reform; There is no evidence that the government-run public option will reduce
or control costs. Americans Do Not want
government expansion. If Obama truly represents All Americans, he will not pursue the public option because the majority of Americans are Against it. However, if he's only interested in representing the unions and far-left, he'll cave-in to them. We'll see.

Posted by: ohioan | September 9, 2009 12:35 PM

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