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Stumping for His Health Care Overhaul

President Obama today launches the outside-the-Beltway part of his campaign to overhaul the American health-care system.

Philip Elliott writes for the Associated Press:

Administration officials said the president's speech in Green Bay would contain no new policies, but would instead put Obama — and the traveling White House press corps — in position to hear directly from people who are affected in the existing system. Those stories, Obama's political aides said, would be key to selling the final product....

Green Bay resident Laura Klitzka, a 35-year-old, married mother of two, was set to introduce Obama at a town hall-style meeting. Klitzka has metastatic breast cancer and carries about $12,000 in unpaid medical bills.

Before leaving Washington, the White House released a biography on Klitzka, saying "she doesn't want to lose their house over her illness and while she knows she won't be able to see her children grow up, she wants to be sure the time she has left with them is quality and not spent worrying about health care bills."

Ceci Connolly writes in The Washington Post:

When President Obama touches down today in Green Bay, Wis., he will be landing in one of the highest-value health communities in the nation, a city that by numerous measures has managed to control medical spending while steadily improving health outcomes.

"If we could make the rest of the nation practice medicine the way that Green Bay does, we would have higher quality and significantly lower costs," said Peter Orszag, the Obama administration budget chief who has emerged as a key player on health-care reform.

In his drive to rein in skyrocketing health-care costs, Obama is increasingly focused on wasteful medical care that does not extend life and may actually be harmful. Today's town-hall-style meeting, his first as president to promote health reform, is intended to spotlight one city's strategy for squeezing out waste without hurting quality.

Next stop on the health-care tour: Chicago. Bruce Japsen writes for the Chicago Tribune:

President Barack Obama on Monday will address delegates to an American Medical Association meeting in Chicago.

The AMA's 543-member policy-making House of Delegates meets this weekend through next Wednesday, setting its advocacy agenda for the coming year.

This will not be an entirely welcoming crowd. Robert Pear writes in the New York Times:

As the health care debate heats up, the American Medical Association is letting Congress know that it will oppose creation of a government-sponsored insurance plan, which President Obama and many other Democrats see as an essential element of legislation to remake the health care system.

But as Sam Stein reports for

Historically and philosophically, however, AMA's opposition is hardly newsworthy. Despite a lofty reputation and purported commitment to universal coverage, AMA has fought almost every major effort at health care reform of the past 70 years. The group's reputation on this matter is so notorious that historians pinpoint it with creating the ominous sounding phrase "socialized medicine" in the early decades of the 1900s.

Carrie Budoff Brown writes for Politico:

President Barack Obama's plan for a government health insurance program has touched off an increasingly fierce Democratic civil war on Capitol Hill, as liberals fearful about squandering the chance to achieve that goal are taking aggressive steps to keep moderates in line....

"It is all about Democrats," said Adam Green, chief executive officer of Change Congress.... "We only need 50 votes. We could conceivably have 60 votes on our own if we keep Democrats unified. It is a matter of convincing Democrats whose conventional wisdom is based on the old political order. This is an extremely popular proposal spearheaded by an extremely popular president, and it is OK to support it."

Laura Litvan writes for Bloomberg:

Senators drafting health-care overhaul legislation, seeking to win Republican support, are weighing whether to create nonprofit cooperatives to expand insurance coverage.

Republican criticism of a government-managed insurance program, the so-called public option, looms as a major obstacle to efforts to craft health-care legislation. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus said the alternative idea of the cooperatives was broached yesterday when four senators from both parties met with President Barack Obama to discuss the drive to curb health-care costs and extend coverage to most of the nation's 46 million uninsured.

Baucus, a Montana Democrat, said Obama was "interested," and later senators in both parties met throughout the day to discuss the concept.

On the op-ed pages, David S. Broder writes in The Washington Post:

The time may come -- either before or after the House votes on its bill -- when Obama may have to demonstrate his flexibility on the issue of a government-run option.

Former Bush guru Karl Rove writes in the Wall Street Journal:

If Democrats enact a public-option health-insurance program, America is on the way to becoming a European-style welfare state. To prevent this from happening, there are five arguments Republicans must make.....

[T]he public option is just phony. It's a bait-and-switch tactic meant to reassure people that the president's goals are less radical than they are. Mr. Obama's real aim, as some candid Democrats admit, is a single-payer, government-run health-care system.

Responding to Rove's piece, Daniel J. Mitchell blogs for the libertarian Cato Institute:

Karl Rove should have been named Man of the Year at some point by the Democratic National Committee. The political consultant/Bush adviser played a big role in expanding the burden of government....He also helped ruin the GOP image with his inside-the-beltway version of "compassionate conservatism," thus paving the way for big Democratic victories in 2006 and 2008....

I'm baffled why Republicans or conservatives would give him the time of day.

By Dan Froomkin  |  June 11, 2009; 10:54 AM ET
Categories:  Health Care  
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Next: Good Questions From a Senator and an Activist


Ask your Representative and Senators why it is OK for senior citizens to have a public plan option, but it's not OK for the rest of us?

If they are honestly against what they term socialized medicine then they should be calling loudly for the repeal of Medicare.

This is an incredibly perverse debate which completely ignores the fact that the most expensive population to cover already has government paid insurance. When we already have a functioning public plan for seniors why can't we allow those under 65 to buy in by paying premiums like they would with any private plan?

Posted by: troyd2009 | June 11, 2009 6:15 PM | Report abuse

Healthcare in America is a privilege and a multi-trillion dollar industry, just benefiting the ultra wealthy insurance companies. Here is an very ominous example of our so called medical care. Professor and surgeon Dr. Richard Foster of Indiana University medical center operated on a cancerous kidney, that was partially successfully removed. After she was operated on my relative found herself in incessant chronic pain and has been on the strongest of pain killers since then. After many procedures nothing yet has eliminated the awful pain she endures every day. The surgeon in question severed the intercostial nerves under her rib cage.

As with many states physicians are never held accountable for damage done to the human body. Its hard to prove medical malpractice even if you can afford the attorney fees. She is now appealing Federal disability, because two pain doctors say she can never work again. Since than she spends more time fighting with her California state-backed insurance company, for her pain medication to elevate the awful pain.

These insurers have denied her over and over again, and forced her into federally mandated emergency room. This is an outrageous travesty of what we have a nerve to call health care. Health care in most European civilized countries has been exceptional, but since the advent of unparalleled immigration, a once Universal health care, single payer system has rapidly gone downhill. Yet If I had a chance at being a member of Canada’s, France, United Kingdom method of delivery, I would grab it happily with both hands any day.

In America it’s run for profit, that is monopolized by giant wealthy insurance companies, who deceives the American people with copays, premiums and and almost impossible referrals, once the doctor has seen you. Of course the–BIG ONE–is pre-existing condition clauses, and small print in documents that you need a magnifying glass to read, if at all. Time this superpower called the United States accommodated it’s citizens with a single payer system for all and not just the high income families.

Posted by: infinity555 | June 11, 2009 11:32 PM | Report abuse

Obama has avoided the thorny details of assiduous analysis on the most critical problems facing America, and has used sweeping, but banal statements of obvious principals, while his appointees actually implement policies and programs inconsistent with the claims of the message. Now his methodology will be applied to Healthcare?

Did America elect a monarch? … A President is still needed.

Posted by: JamesRaider | June 12, 2009 2:21 AM | Report abuse

Good to see public attention turning toward the geographic disparity in health costs. The topic has been of interest for some time, first from Wennberg et. al. at Dartmouth and more recently at Milliman, which indicates the cost of care for a family of four in Miami exceeds $20,000 this year while the cost of care for a similar family in Phoenix is still less than $15,000. More at

Posted by: JEngdahlJ | June 12, 2009 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Somewhere,its now become time for what ever age you are,to realize that if this Obama's plan to take us to a public one-pay
socialist health plan, like what Europe has had! Then you going to be in a postition that if you got a state plan, that doesn't cover your illness, then the only thing that your going to looking for is your death!Why would a outsider of another country come to the USA to get health care for if they had a better plan?
The present private plans have more perks
than what the public one plan would have!! I had a dear friend die in the UK, because her illness was not covered!!! There wasn't a doctor in Her area to substain or even try to help! Ask yourself /put yourself in Her place!! Presently in this country, Their are more options now! If Obama, gets his way, this will change for most of the Americans, who have a private insurance! Compare that All Senators either Democrats/Republicans have a private Insurance for Life! Why don't they sign up for this one-pay plan??? Because they know that its not worth the lies that are being place in the minds of us in this country! The private sector has taken a hit/control since this President has taken office,time for change as per his campaign promises! Look at what's happen,We own Gm/Chrysler/Banks,Control of Wall Street!! The private sector has flourised for years,now He wants to be do away with this plan for as to who's going to be able to provide care??? Think of if we're in all in the public plan! What is your life/ loved ones going to do??? Can you put a value on your life/loved ones?? You want have a choice if you accept this onepay plan that Obama wants to provide!!!

Posted by: btexpress | June 15, 2009 4:55 PM | Report abuse

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