"To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public." -- Theodore Roosevelt


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Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Immediate Personal Reaction to Obama's Health Care Address

Obama once again trots out his vaunted oratory skills. Determined to save his lauded medical reforms, Obama poured on the emotions invoking the deaths of unnamed citizens and Ted Kennedy.

But all that aside, Obama offers nothing new to a debate that has been raging for months now. While he calls for calm and blames partisan bickering (all but calling out Sarah Palin) for the failure to jam through massive-scale "reform" at any financial cost in record time, Obama says nothing new. Instead he follows a commonly tried-and-true political course (which he hypocritically lambastes in his speech as "timidity") and presents these intrusive measures as moderate.

Obama has failed to address the concerns of citizens in a variety of ways.

1) Cost. While Obama promises not to sign anything that will increase budget deficits (he has a real great history of that), he does not present any new argument as to where the money for the massive funds that will be required will come from. He instead restates the stale and disproven argument that eliminating Medicare's waste and abuse, combined with an increase in efficiency (hardly a hallmark of federal legislation) will somehow pay for it all.

Sorry, but people didn't believe it then and they are unlikely to believe it now. Increasing numbers of insured and increasing benefits demands spending money. Government bureaucracies have never had a history of bringing down costs by simply trimming waste. Such beliefs are nonsense and not based in any reputable history or fact.

2) The Blame Game. Obama once again accuses partisan bickering for blocking this legislation. Nonsense. The Dems have an enormous majority in both the House and Senate. What has blocked this hard-Left legislation is moderate Dem concerns, and the concerns of American citizens who have made their displeasure known at town-hall meetings, demonstrations, and other vocal means.

3) Government Over-Regulation. Obama repeats the call for government regulation of the insurance industries, echoing the Left conviction that more government is the answer in the situation. Currently, the medical industry is under some of the tightest federal regulation around. Health insurers are legally restricted from competing across state lines. The results have been the current state of affairs. Obama would have us believe that tighter regulation would a) increase competition and b) improve costs and care. This hasn't happened with past regulation and governments that have put very tight restrictions on health insurers, such as Canada and Britain, have created "imploding" or "draconian" systems.

Many people do not have faith in federal government bureaucracies and do not believe that further regulation will do anything but harm the current system. Obama offers nothing but personal assurances that his view is right. Sorry-- but that's not enough to overcome history, foreign examples, and common sense.

4) Government Coercion. Obama proposes to force all Americans to purchase health care. People don't generally like being coerced into doing anything, especially purchasing something they feel they can do without. Invoking the nebulous term "social justice," Obama believes that people can be penalized and taxed into doing what is right-- in this case buy health insurance.

He rather laughably uses the idea that since we have to purchase car insurance, we should likewise have to purchase health insurance. No one has to purchase auto accident insurance (as far as I know). What must be purchased is liability insurance. In other words, if you cause an accident or an injury to someone else, you have to show the ability for someone to pay for your negligence. This doesn't mean that if your car breaks down, you must have insurance to fix it or purchase you a new car. His analogy is either deliberately manipulative or patently foolish.

5) Public Plan. While Obama addresses the public plan option at some length, he does not go into detail on how it is to be implemented. Moreover, he does not dispel any misgivings the American people have of it. They need reassurance through details and examples, something specific. Instead he merely gives us numbers and personal reassurances of a non-existing plan. That doesn't cut it.

6) Attacking Individualism for the Greater Good. My favorite part of the address is the end, however. I will go into more detail in a later post with a transcript, citations, and links, but for now I'm working from notes and memory.

To climax his speech, Obama emotionally juxtaposes American "rugged individualism" with social justice as embodied in Ted Kennedy. While going out of his way to not denounce individualism, Obama seems to paint a picture of social justice being at odds with individuality while invoking universal health care as a "moral" imperative. Basically he seems to say, put aside your individual opinions so that we can pass this moral bill to cover all Americans with "secure" health care. Do it for Ted.

In other words, American individualism is fine, but for now shut up, don't question me, my nebulous plan, nor Congress' gargantuan and bloated bills. Ted's a good guy and wouldn't want you to.

Nice.

I'll put up a longer, more detailed post later with a transcript, quotes, citations, etc. For now, this is just a quickie personal reaction.

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