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Posted by on Jun 15, 2009 in Health, Politics | 7 comments

Strong Words from Obama on Health Care Reform

From Obama’s AMA speech today in Chicago, via Ben Smith at Politico:

There are countries where a single-payer system may be working. But I believe — and I’ve even taken some flak from members of my own party for this belief — that it is important for us to build on our traditions here in the United States. So, when you hear the naysayers claim that I’m trying to bring about government-run health care, know this — they are not telling the truth.

The strong words don’t stop there. Later, the President says:

… even if we accept all of the economic and moral reasons for providing affordable coverage to all Americans, there is no denying that it will come at a cost — at least in the short run. But it is a cost that will not — I repeat, not — add to our deficits. Health care reform must be and will be deficit neutral in the next decade.

Smith provides the full text of the speech for those who care to read it.

I decline to argue the merits of Obama’s claims in this speech — because I’m woefully unqualified to do so — but I will note that, on purely stylistic grounds, this speech seemed to contain a greater number of definitive statements, and less of Obama’s legendary knack for nuance, than his other recent speeches.

If that’s an accurate observation, it might suggest health care is one subject on which this President will extend only the shortest rope to the “naysayers” before he cuts them off. Such impatience would be consistent with Obama’s expressed view that the moment is ripe but the window for reform is limited, that “this is an historic opportunity we’ve never seen before and may not see again.”