22 July 2009

UPDATED: President's Press Conference on Health Care

Update 1: Text of the President's prepared remarks (prior to questioning) may be found here.

Live blogging President's press conference:

Claims and comments that jump out:

1. The 'Recovery Act' has already saved new jobs and created new ones: where?
2. Investment in green energy is what will make the economy ready to compete in the 21st century.
3. Failure to act 'now' on health care will prevent elimination of the deficit.
4. "The reform we're proposing will ... keep government out of health care. ... prevent out of pocket costs ... "
5. The failure of Congress [over 50 years] is a major reason he 'inherited' a 1.3 trillion deficit (umm - try looking at what the deficit was on the day you took office Mr. President and then look at the contributions of TARP 1 and TARP 2 and the stimulus and your budget and the health care proposals and .....)
6. If Congress would only take on the President's cost-saving proposals, all would be well.
7. Any opposition is just about people wanting to 'play politics as usual,' and to 'get' the President.
8. Medicare should be cut- that will help the elderly.
9. People are skeptical about the proposals because they're cynical [yes, we are, but that's not entirely the point].
10. "The plan that I put forward ... the estimates are that it will cover 97 - 98%." According to the Dems, part of the problem is that the President hasn't actually put forward a plan, and that various parties and interests in and out of Congress are the ones making the plans.
11. The August deadline isn't really a deadline, it's just a goal to make sure Congress is debating and working.
12. "You haven't seen me out there blaming the Republicans." Huh???!!!
13. "If they've [the Repubs] got a good idea, we'll take it." Guess you haven't read any of the alternate plans.
14. Taxation is OK, as long as it's not on the middle class.
15. Jake Tapper: "Experts say ... Americans giving up tests, referrals, choice, end-of-life-care. When you talk about [it] you, understandably don't talk about sacrifices ..." Asks the President to state what sacrifices are really there. Reply: "They're going to have to give up paying for things ..." That answers the question (not)! Goes on to rhetorically ask why we would want to pay for what doesn't work. Still not answering the actual question. Wait, maybe: "It will require doctors as well as patients to be more discriminating consumers." Dancing up to the edge of discussing rationing. Moves on to deficit and debt, and concerns people have, then say those concerns are no more than, "...that argument has been used by those who don't want to reform health care." No - it's been used by those of us who are completely fed up with government take overs and expenditures and taxes.
16. "If we had done nothing, you'd have a 9.3 trillion-dollar deficit over the next nine years. Because of the changes we've made, we'll have a 7.1-trillion-dollar deficit ... but it's 2.2-trillion less than what we would have had we kep the policies in place when we came in." Complete and utter B.S. that. The deficit expansion is utterly due to the stimulus and budget and TARP. "Health care reform is designed to lower it [the deficit]." Not according to CBO.
17. Sacrifice question on current and future beneficiaries of Medicare. "It's not going to reduce Medicare benefits, it's going to change how those benefits are delivered so it's more efficient." Not if one reads the bill - the plain language of the bill (and the language of Pelosi and others in leadership) make it clear that both total benefit dollars and benefit allottment will be reduced. Savings from private monies from Pharm. doesn't mean that benefits aren't being reduced.
18. Slam! Called on transparency promises vs. what's really happening. Interesting that his own IG on TARP says transparency isn't happening.
19. Anything bad (deficit, TARP, etc.) is all inherited.
20. Moving far afield (it is a press conference and they can ask what they want): financial regulatory reform is next up. Government will be able to step in to ensure share-holders are aware of compensation packages. May impose fees for 'risky' investments. Who defines what's 'too risky?' I don't mind the first idea, but the second is a non-starter.
21. "To follow up on Jake's question, sir ... Can you guarantee that this legislation will lock in, that the goverment will not deny any coverage ... and that you and the Congress will abide by the same plan." President says that the reform plan will be the same thing as the fed. employee plan. Moved on to talking about decision-making about what's best for patient-care, by not doing unecessary procedures. Great, but who decides what's necessary. You, Congress, some faceless bureaucrat? Decision-making means someone has to make those decisions. Cited the Mayo and Cleaveland Clinic as examples. Mayo Clinic has rejected the House plan as it stands, and the proposed reform of Medicare.

Here are some articles to be considering while you consider to the sales pitch.

Blue Dogs. Taxation. Cost. Partisanship. More costs.

I strongly suggest (and hope you sign) the: Responsible Health Care Reform Pledge.
'All 535 Members of the U.S. House and Senate have received multiple copies of the Pledge by fax, email, regular mail or personal visitation. Any Representative or Senator not shown on the list of signers below may therefore reasonably be classified as having declined to sign. A few Senators have insisted that although they are supportive of our Pledge, they have adopted a blanket policy against signing pledges that prevents their signing ours. Although Let Freedom Ring believes that that they should make an exception for our pledge, because it is narrowly drawn and quite specific, we have agreed to post letters from those Senators in a separate section following the list of signers. You may read the letters by clicking on the Senators’ names.'

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