I watched the speech earlier but for me it came right around dinnertime so I decided to eat and take some time to gather a few thoughts before posting. As always I thought his speech was quite good on style, there is no doubting that the man can give a superb speech. His skills are such that even if you disagree with what he is saying you can’t help but to be charmed by him anyway.
I also felt that Congressman Wilson of South Carolina was disgusting in his behavior. I didn’t like it when Democrats were disrespectful to Republican Presidents and I don’t like it when Republicans are disrespectful to Democratic ones. There are just certain things that you don’t do, and one of them is be classless in that way.
As to the speech itself, I felt it was divided into three basic sections.
The first section was, as Obama himself admitted, basically a statement of the problems that we all agree about. Pretty much everyone agrees that insurance companies should not be able to deny for pre-existing conditions, we all agree that preventative care should be covered, we all agree that you shouldn’t be canceled for daring to get sick. Perhaps the right is less thrilled with these areas, but I think we all basically agree.
I also think most of us are supportive of the idea of smaller employers and even individuals being able to come together in groups to purchase coverage at a better rate. Most of us are supportive of some sort of tort reform (perhaps the left less so than the right, but still we all want reform).
I was very pleased to see him call for mandatory coverage for everyone, as he correctly pointed out it is not really ‘assuming the risk of no coverage’ if you know the government will pay for your health care should you need to have treatment.
The second section of the speech was where he started to lose me a little. As is common in speeches he presented his ideas as the perfect solutions to the problems and acted as if there wasn’t really any debate on that score. This is where I have an issue with the proposed reforms. I want to see lower costs, I want to see everyone covered by insurance and I want to see reforms to prevent the companies from pulling crooked things like canceling coverage when you get sick.
But I am not convinced that his plan is the right one. He stated that his proposals would not cost any more than current costs, yet the Congressional Budget Office has already stated this is not true. He suggested that his plan would see to it that everyone was covered, yet the CBO says this is not going to happen under the current plan.
I think here is where the real issue in this debate lies. Certainly some of those opposed to reform have gone too far in standing in the way of any proposals regardless of the merit of the ideas. I think that is wrong. But at the same time there is a sense from the White House that you’ve got to agree to their basic ideas or else. That is a bit troubling for me.
The third part of the speech was where Obama totally lost me when he went into a partisan attack on the GOP. I saw no reason to attack Bush for 8 year old tax cuts or for the war in Iraq (especially when Obama has not cut back on the troops there). To me this was a bit overboard and it detracted from what could have been a less partisan address.
Overall it was a pretty well delivered speech but I’m not sure it will accomplish much.