President Obama To Address Congress On Health Care

Illustration for article titled President Obama To Address Congress On Health Care

Thank God: Next Wednesday night, President Obama will address a joint session of Congress in an effort to regain control of the healthcare debate and clarify the details of his vision for reform.

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Senior advisor David Axelrod says the speech will give us all "a clear sense of what he proposes and what health care reform is not." Man, that would be nice. But to be any clearer than he has been, he has to choose two of three groups to piss off royally and unapologetically because, as everyone but the President figured out a long time ago, real compromise is a fantasy. Liberals want him to refuse to sign any proposal that doesn't include a public option. Centrists want him to magically make affordable health care available to all without stepping too hard on the insurance industry's toes. And conservatives want a new president, but in the meantime, will settle for watching him fail spectacularly. Oh, wait I'm sorry, I got that last one wrong. MSNBC has the scoop:

Illustration for article titled President Obama To Address Congress On Health Care
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HAHAHAHAHAHA. *wipes tear off cheek* HAHAHAHAHA.

Numerous sources are reporting that the White House is talking with Republican Senator Olympia Snowe about a compromise plan that would involve a "trigger" for a public option: The insurance companies will be given a set period of time to bring down health care costs of their own volition (snorf), and if they blow the deadline, a public option will automatically appear. Marc Ambinder at The Atlantic says:

The public discussion of the Snowe "compromise" is meant to test the reaction of House Democrats, who will pass a bill that includes an immediate public option added to a new health insurance exchange. The White House hopes that, having voted for a public option, House Dems would accept a "trigger" as part of a conference committee compromise rather than putting the kibosh on the entire health care reform project... For a while now, Obama's aides have believed that the 50-odd progressives in the House who are demanding a public option will get their jollies if they can pass a bill out of the House, and that they will be too afraid to oppose a bill that makes it out of a subsequent conference committee — a bill that President Obama would specifically endorse.

In other words, he's totally choosing to piss off the liberals, but wants to offer them a last hurrah in hopes that no one will notice that's what he's done. Who could have seen that coming, other than anyone who's been paying attention?

But who knows, maybe he'll surprise us all with a real show of progressive leadership next Wednesday. Maybe.

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President To Flesh Out His Vision In Speech [Washington Post]
Obama And The Perfect Political Storm[Wall Street Journal]
Obama Wants Control Of Health-Care Debate [Time]
White House Floating "Snowe" Trigger [The Atlantic]

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DISCUSSION

I'll say this again:

Not to throw everything off kilter, but as someone who is vehemently pro-government health care, I may have had a rude awakening.

My grandmother fell and broke her hip. She has Medicare. Visiting her, I am shocked to see several truths about Medicare. Namely, they only covered half the operation. Then, they only allowed for TWELVE days of rehab, for a woman in her 70's, to learn how to walk with a prosthesis implanted. And even then? They only paid for half.

This leaves my grandmother with a $40,000 bill. Which can be somewhat paid for by her ALTERNATE PRIVATE INSURANCE, that she pays for. And she's still left with some hefty bills that she'll have to pay.

Let's be real. Nationalized health care will never happen. The AMA, insurance companies, and pharmaceutical companies are too strong to ever let that happen. So. . this is our alternative? I might be on the Conservatives' side after all.