Thursday, September 10, 2009
Too Little, Too Late
Speaking to both Houses of Congress, and to the nation, President Obama finally gave details of how his Healthcare Reform Bill would help millions of uninsured Americans.
Too bad it’s too little, too late.
Last night his speech (by my notes) had eight separate parts. But what political heroes, cable and radio talk show hosts, and many Americans have been clamoring for are details in how the president’s magnanimous plan will directly affect the American health care system and medically and monetarily impact citizens.
Last night some details emerged.
The president said that if you already have health insurance, are covered by Medicare/Medicaid, your status will not change. For the rest of Americans who don’t fall into those categories, he outlined a comprehensive, detailed plan that sounded good, but really failed to live up to the “game changer” he needed to push those opposed to the plan into supporting it.
Under Barack’s proposed plan, the government would:
• Offer an affordable plan for those who don’t have medical insurance.
• Create a new insurance exchange where companies will be competitive.
• Provide tax credits based on your needs.
The president also took on those who were putting forth lies, untruths and misrepresentations of his plan. Calling Death Panels a “lie, plain and simple,” the president also said that the plan would not cover illegal immigrants. Then Barack Obama took a swipe at those who dared question his plan by saying that anyone who misrepresents what’s in his plan, he and the administration will “call you out.”
These are bold, confrontational words (almost a thinly-veiled threat; maybe he’s channeling the “Chicago Way”) from the president. But they are also understandable because the president was on the defensive after letting his own plan and bill get mired and tarnished by his own inaction. When he proposed the plan needed to be ratified and voted on in three weeks last July, people scoffed, questioned and jeered his timeline. Moderate Democrats even started to raise objections saying that that kind of sweeping comprehensive reform was too much, too soon, too fast. But the president believed the American people truly wanted this and since he needed a solid victory before Congress went on vacation, he did something utterly baffling: he went on vacation, thinking it would be passed because he wanted it. Big mistake.
And that’s when he lost control of the narrative on health care, even with the death of Ted Kennedy and the rallying cry from people like Nancy Pelosi that we needed to pass health care reform because of Kennedy’s commitment to reform. The debate shifted and was changed by those who were strongly opposed to government-controlled health care.
The proof is in the latest poll numbers where over 52 percent of Americans are now against President Obama’s plan, while his overall approval numbers continue to plummet below 50 percent.
So last night was a good speech – a solid, passionate performance from a man whose oratory ability cannot be questioned.
But the timing was too late. He should have made this speech a month ago.