SOTU, Part 2

Part 2.

Our approach would preserve the right of Americans who have insurance to keep their doctor and their plan.  It would reduce costs and premiums for millions of families and businesses.  And according to the Congressional Budget Office -– the independent organization that both parties have cited as the official scorekeeper for Congress –- our approach would bring down the deficit by as much as $1 trillion over the next two decades.

I have done the health care dance for awhile and I want to point this out:  the Congressional Budget Office only makes predictions for 1 decade out, they do not like to do more.  They’re estimate is $1 trillion over the next decade, which doesn’t sound bad, but it is using the Senate bill without the public option.  With the public insurance option, we’re looking at a vastly different arena and, lets be honest, more debt, not less.

Still, this is a complex issue, and the longer it was debated, the more skeptical people became.  I take my share of the blame for not explaining it more clearly to the American people.  And I know that with all the lobbying and horse-trading, the process left most Americans wondering, “What’s in it for me?”

But I also know this problem is not going away.  By the time I’m finished speaking tonight, more Americans will have lost their health insurance.  Millions will lose it this year.  Our deficit will grow.  Premiums will go up.  Patients will be denied the care they need.  Small business owners will continue to drop coverage altogether.  I will not walk away from these Americans, and neither should the people in this chamber.

I really think Obama means this:  the people do not like it, they do not like the back door deals, the Louisiana Purchase and the Nebraska Negotiation, but since people are losing their health insurance, we should go through with it anyway.  Politics at the expense of true, healthy reform.  There are better ways to lower health care costs that would be better used in bits and pieces, debated and discussed openly, rather than an enormous omnibus bill that seeks to make everyone happy by letting them each get a slice of pork.

Starting in 2011, we are prepared to freeze government spending for three years.  Spending related to our national security, Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security will not be affected.  But all other discretionary government programs will.  Like any cash-strapped family, we will work within a budget to invest in what we need and sacrifice what we don’t.  And if I have to enforce this discipline by veto, I will.

Spending freeze?  Sounds good right?  First, it doesn’t really freeze much.  Around 12% of the budget will be effected, no more.  Also, there seems to be some trickery going on behind the scenes.  Charles Krauthammer explains.

Now, even after paying for what we spent on my watch, we’ll still face the massive deficit we had when I took office.  More importantly, the cost of Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security will continue to skyrocket.  That’s why I’ve called for a bipartisan fiscal commission, modeled on a proposal by Republican Judd Gregg and Democrat Kent Conrad.  This can’t be one of those Washington gimmicks that lets us pretend we solved a problem.  The commission will have to provide a specific set of solutions by a certain deadline.

Unfortunately this is going to be a Washington gimmick.  The AP reported that this commission will have little to no teeth to enforce any of its proposals.  It is unfortunate that appearances are all that matter to politicians far to often.  This committee could come up with some legitimate ideas which regardless of their strengths and weaknesses, will never see the light of day.

I will not post Obama’s comments on earmark reform, but I like the idea.

I never thought that the mere fact of my election would usher in peace and harmony and some post-partisan era.

You sure as heck campaigned on it.

This week, I’ll be addressing a meeting of the House Republicans.  I’d like to begin monthly meetings with both Democratic and Republican leadership.  I know you can’t wait.

Haha!  Let us please see it!

Thats all I’ve got.  Comments please.


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