What to Look for in Obama’s Speech Tonight

First, nothing specific. Here’s how the BBC reports it this morning:

When asked if Americans will find out in his speech whether or not he is willing to sign a healthcare reform bill without a public scheme, he said:

“Well, I think the country is going to know exactly what I think will solve our healthcare crisis.”
Mr Obama said the speech will be directed at the American people, as well as members of Congress…..

“The intent of the speech is to, A, make sure that the American people are clear exactly what it is that we are proposing,” Mr Obama said.

“And B, to make sure that Democrats and Republicans understand that I’m open to new ideas, that we’re not being rigid and ideological about this thing, but we do intend to get something done this year.”

Second, some version of the Baucus plan seems likely to survive. Mitch McConnell, the Senate Republican leader, is softening opposition to the idea of of “reform” –if it’s the “right” reform. That means spending less money, which means cutting existing benefits in Medicare and elsewhere. Remember–Republicans apparently think we are over-insured!

Meanwhile in the House, the Blue Dog leader Mike Ross says he’s flat out against a public option. There are 52 Blue Dogs. In addition, Pelosi,with her stated insistence on a public plan, is beginning to look isolated as part of the leadership caves on that issue. Steny Hoyer, House Majority leader, indicates he won’t insist on the public option.
What’s likely to survive as pivotal in the final plan will be the “exchanges,” which, in fact, are modeled on the federal employees health benefit plan. It will be through these exchanges that insurers will be required to meet certain standards, including accepting everyone with or without pre-existing conditions. Pricing will be left to the insurance companies.

In the end, my guess is Baucus will carry the day with details of a weak bill hammered out in conference.

One response to “What to Look for in Obama’s Speech Tonight

  1. It’s not the content of the speech..but as Sam Smith says in the Progressive Review… “it was the crummy lesson plan”:

    Sam Smith, Progressive Review – Someone in Obama Spin Central made a bad mistake: attempting to push a politicized lesson plan for elementary school kids to use following the president’s speech to them on TV. It wasn’t all that important in itself but symbolizes an apparent desire in some quarters to replace Muzak in our lives with the sound of all Obama all the time.

    The lesson plan included such tacky political recommendations as having students “write letters to themselves about what they can do to help the president.”

    Elsewhere the lesson plan suggested sample questions including, “Is President Obama inspiring you to do anything?” and, “Is he challenging you to do anything?”

    Once the plan was exposed (and the Review was about the only progressive journal to help in this), The White House quickly dumped some of the objectionable language. For example, the plan now suggests that students “write letters to themselves about how they can achieve their short-term and long-term education goals.”

    The spinmeisters pulled out a classic non-apology. Said one, “That was inartfully worded, and we corrected it.”


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