The President's Weekly Address

In his weekly address, the President points to outrageous premium hikes from health insurance companies already making massive profits as further proof of the need for reform. Looking ahead to the coming bipartisan meeting on reform, the President urges members of Congress to come to the table in good faith to address the issue. Hope springs eternal.

Tags: US Healthcare Reform, Obama Administration, Healthcare Summit (all tags)



interestng findings

from a Research 2000 Iowa poll taken this week:

QUESTION: Do you favor or oppose the health care reform bill passed in December by the U.S. Senate?


ALL 36% 57% 7%

MEN 32% 61% 7%

WOMEN 40% 53% 7%

DEMOCRATS 62% 24% 14%



QUESTION: Would you favor or oppose the national government offering everyone the choice of buying into a government administered health insurance plan -- something like the Medicare coverage that people 65 and older get -- that would compete with private health insurance plans?


ALL 61% 31% 8%

MEN 58% 33% 9%

WOMEN 64% 29% 7%

DEMOCRATS 87% 9% 4%

REPUBLICANS 32% 59% 9%

INDEPENDENTS 60% 29% 11%

Yet again we see that a more partisan, more progressive approach to health care reform would have been more popular--especially with independents. Plus, it would have allowed Democrats to show they gave Americans a choice in response to outrageous rate hikes. Instead, Obama is throwing his weight behind an unpopular bill with an excise tax that will degrade the quality of many people's employer-provided benefits.

by desmoinesdem 2010-02-20 09:17AM | 0 recs
RE: interestng findings

Good at campaigning, bad at governing. I hope he realizes if he pushes this very unpopular bill he will lose the base and the party and the administration will go down in flames.

by tarheel74 2010-02-20 11:52AM | 0 recs
The Legislature Legislates

Not only is there real reform in that (albeit, imperfect) Senate Bill that people still need, but I think you're focusing too much on the wrong person here.

I hope Obama offers public support of a PO.

But I hope even more that there are 50 Senators who will support it. As Wanda Sykes put it: he went to Harvard, not Hogwarts.

So how about calling some Senators and trying to get a critical mass behind the PO reconcilliation effort?

by NoFortunateSon 2010-02-20 12:29PM | 1 recs
RE: The Legislature Legislates

Can't do that. This is the liberal blogoshpere. Bash Obama. Bash Democratic Congressional leadership. Ignore Republicans, evne thought THEY'RE THE ONES YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO BE BASHING!


Right, tarheel74? By the way, how's your good buddy Upstate Kent?

by spirowasright 2010-02-20 08:14PM | 0 recs
RE: The Legislature Legislates

You miss the point: Calling Senators and trying to get a critical mass behind the PO via reconcilliation is Obama's job, not ours.

by vecky 2010-02-21 03:41PM | 0 recs
RE: The Legislature Legislates

sorry, but it is BOTH Obama's job and ours.

and saying that the President has no imput in the legislative process (nofortunateson) is complete BS and everybody here knows it.

by jeopardy 2010-02-23 04:28PM | 0 recs
People want lots of things

I agree that a public option is important. I have been working very hard contacting my legislators since the process started many months ago.

But lately, we've seen conflicting poll results on support for a public option based (I believe) on wording. Other poll results have it closer to an even split. After all, R2k has Obama's favorable/unfavorable at 56/41. Do you believe that too?

The real question is how deep that support for a public option runs outside the lefty blogosphere, and I maintain that it is very shallow and soft.

My case in point is that Jane Hamsher could barely get 500 people to show up this summer and rally for healthcare reform. After talking to organizers the past week on Daily Kos, all agreeing that we really need an in person rally, it looks like we're going to have to settle for this electronic rally.

In closing, I think low information rules the day on reform. Low information has many people soured on the current bills, and likewise, low information makes the public option seem like a panacea, when in fact, neither are accurate.

by NoFortunateSon 2010-02-20 12:17PM | 0 recs
RE: People want lots of things

In this R2K Iowa poll, Obama's approval/disapproval was at 49-46, which seems realistic. Still there was broad support for a strong public option.

If this health care bill were better, I would stand out in the cold and rally for it. But why should you or anyone else expect thousands of people to go rally for this deal to protect the drug and insurance companies?

I'm not saying there's nothing good in the bill, but it obviously isn't a bill that addresses the real problems in the system.

by desmoinesdem 2010-02-20 05:42PM | 0 recs

It establishes health care as a public service in this country for the first time.

People may think Republicans are opposed to HCR simply because they want to bog Obama down in a quagmire and hand him a defeat now as their only chance for victory in 2010. That may be true. But they are also terrified of another social program.

And isn't that what the senate is trying to do? Make the bill better?

by NoFortunateSon 2010-02-20 11:48PM | 0 recs
RE: Because

no, it enshrines health care as a PRIVATE service, only to be funded in large part by public money.

THere's a very real difference and that is the core problem many of us have with it.

by jeopardy 2010-02-23 04:29PM | 0 recs
RE: Because

You're not going to put the private insurers out of business. No matter how much you're out for blood, and many of the Naderites are, it's a radical idea and a very risky proposition. Many European countries successfully use a series of private insurers. There is nothing uncommon about the proposed system.

You'd have to be pretty obtuse to see that passage of this bill for the first time establishes government regulation of the private sector. A Public Option can always be added later.

by NoFortunateSon 2010-02-23 05:03PM | 0 recs
RE: Because

what we want is a move toward eventual single-payer. We don't need an immediate destruction of private insureres.

It's why I supported a PO or lowering the age of Medicare. Those are steps on the long road of eventually getting to where most other industrialized countries are.

The Seante Bill, however, enshrines into law the right of insurance companies to skim profits off the top and uses public money and mandates to do so. It's going backwards in terms of fixing the core problems.

by jeopardy 2010-02-23 05:14PM | 0 recs
RE: Because

And you can say "it's radical" all you want,

but a clear majority of Americans are in favor of the PO, so I'm really not sure any sane person is going to buy your "it's radical" Republican talking-point.


by jeopardy 2010-02-23 05:15PM | 0 recs
New Newsweek poll sort of disproves your theory

Newsweek: A majority of Americans are opposed to President Obama's plan to reform health care — until they learn the details of the proposal:

...while a majority of Americans say they oppose Obama's plan, a majority actually support the key features of the legislation. The findings support the notion that Democrats have not done a good job of selling the package and that opponents have been successful in framing the debate. The more people know about the legislation, the more likely they are to support major components of it...

When asked about Obama's plan (without being given any details about what the legislation includes), 49 percent opposed it and 40 percent were in favor. But after hearing key features of the legislation described, 48 percent supported the plan and 43 percent remained opposed.

I'm not one to rely on single polls, but this latest finding does dispel the myth that a PO is crucial to HCR popularity as you assert, and confirms my theory that the greatest enemy of HCR is not bipartisanship, but popular ignorance.

(I do support a PO)

by NoFortunateSon 2010-02-20 04:17PM | 0 recs
My feeling

My feeling has always been that there are really three groups in this mess...Republicans, who have dwindled their numbers down to the hardcore, rank-n-file, lockstep foundation. 

Next is the "moderates" or "conserva-dems", the usual middle group that in the past has consisteded of moderate Repubs and conservative Dems.  This is the group that tends to change with the wind, flowing where the mood of the country goes.  They are the easiest to corrupt and tempt.  This is the block that is desperately courted in elections and vilified when change is needed.  The dreaded RINO and DINO.  I have felt that the size of this group directly corresponds with the mood of the country for change or stability.  Larged "mushy middle", the less that gets done = same old - same old.

And then there are the Hardcore Dems, who seem to be moving back to a more progressive/liberal attitude. They are hobbled by the current corrupted nature of the DINO's.

The country is setting itself up for a change.  The '06 and '08 elections were the first part, Pres. Obama's election was the end of Act 1.  In Act 2 the DINO's are showing their colors, not unexpectedly, and screwing up all over the place (Virginia, New Jersey, Mass.).  They do not understand the electorate has indeed changed.  Democrats will not automatically vote or vote D.  Independants are FAR more fickle.  It is becoming necessary to DO what you SAY.  The key is the Pennsylvania Rep who beat out the hardcore tea-bagger in a heavily Repub district...and the Repub. who beat out the really bad Dem in Mass.  These are radical shift in expectations, not in philosophy.

If you think of the political system that we have now as D vs. R, then you are not only going to end up confused, you are going to be massively disappointed.  This is a two-teired system...Legacy vs. Future first, D vs. R second.  We have "jumped the hump" of Legacy vs. Future in issues like "gay marriage" and the election of Obama as two is downhill from here as more voters join the electorate who don't care about gender/race/orientation and more about substance.  There are still some areas where people vote on those issues, but they are in decline.  The Boomers issues are begining to fade.

After you understand that the Democratic party needs a overhaul on legacy vs. future issues, then it might become apparent what the Pres. is waiting for...a true majority in the House and Senate.  While it is touted there was a super-majority in the Senate of 60, I NEVER thought that the Dems had more than 50 on anything but the REALLY CONTENTIOUS issues.  Anything business related, like Health care, never had a real chance as things now stand. 

There are two ways to deal with it:

1. Strong arm things through.  Use all those increased Presidential powers Bush II put in place.  Move towards a CEO/Board setup with the Executive and Legislative branches.  This is what the non-progressives want done.  They may loose a few early battles, but they wield the power and will eventually win.  The "power at the top" model is the model of corruption and serfdom.  This is the model of a outright Corporate takeover of the Government.

2.  Show the public what Congress, and the Supreme Court, and the Republicans are really like.  Take the time to point it out.  For example, HC seems to be getting a BIG show and tell in how the insurance companies are about to really gouge people...and will jump start the process again.  People who were on the fence are about to take a 2x4 to the head over this and opinion will shift...not because they were warned about this, but because we responde to threats AFTER they emerge.  And it is not like Obama could go out last summer, during the death panel discussions, and say "Hey, they are going to be raising your rates 20-50% next year alone...I have the numbers so believe me." 

America has a superiority problem.  We demand a savior AFTER we screw up, not someoone to lead us away from danger...we can be really stupid sometimes.  If we are the SECOND greatest country in the world, or if it is seriously questioned, we buck up and really apply ourselves.  If we take the lead, we slack off and screw around.  We have a congress that has and is slacking off and screwing around.  And that is the impetous behind the Republicans making any is not that the Dems are too liberal, it is that they aren't doing ANYTHING.

Republicans may want to go "the wrong way" but at least they are decisive..."let's all jump off this cliff"...and they do it.  Dems, right now, hem and haw and think and debate ... the house is burning down and they are deciding what size hose to use and where to get the water from.  Why?  Because the argument that used to be Dem vs. Repub is now Dem Vs. DINO with the Repubs dangling over the cliff.  Dems do not yet have the weight of power to lead against the Repubs (danglers) and DINO's (dead weight in the middle).

The '10 elections will tell:  Will the Dems decide to build up their non DINO majority with a VISION to lead?  Will the Dems run crappy campaigns, rushing to the indecisive middle, and loose to the cliff leaping but leading Repubs? 

People want leadership, not name calling and blame.  Leadership that can stand up to the attacks from their foes and still stand.  Leadership that can take on and dismiss outright lies.  Leadership that will slap the media in the face when they engage and encourage those lies.  Leadership that will not wilt under the handshake of Corporate cooperation, but will stand as firm - an equal partner.  The people of this country want to be LEAD by the LEADERS they ELECTED!  That is the reason Bush won in '04...he may have had the world's shittiest plan, but he HAD one and had proven he would do it.  Dems had a lot of hot air.  Dems got back in power in '06 and '08 NOT because they suddenly got a plan, but becasue the public just could NOT go any further with the Republicans.  We are the lesser of two evils right now, and in time the side that plays "evil" better will win in this scenario.  The only way to win is the change the playing field, to make this a good vs. evil debate...a true PROGRESSIVE change.

It should not be about D vs. R, it should be about which candidate will be the most progressive.   If a Republican wants to be progressive and take that label, fine so long as they act and vote that way.  If the Dems want the Progressive mantle, then they better FIELD candidates that ACT and VOTE progressive.  Change the playing field...Dems take progressives for granted, and Republicans could really use some progressives in their ranks.

Pres. Obama's leadership is one I like...he is not a Progressive President, or a Democratic President (nor a Republican President nor a Conservative President)...he is a AMERICAN President.  Think very carefully of the nuances of that sentence.  It implies that there is opportunity.  It also implies that what you are seeing is how things really are.  It implies that progressives cannot sit idly by now that he was voted into office...there has to be more done...WE have to change the playing field and he will respond to that.  It is NOT his job to MAKE us change things like HC, it is his job to tell us that it needs to be done and for us to go and convince our neighbors that it should be done.  Obama cannot be at every coffee shop or country club, in every board room or break room, to have this we have to be, because WE can be and are.

I honestly think Obama is waiting for this and is disappointed that we have just left this to him.  Why the hell should he be twisting Lieberman's arm for HC when that is OUR damned job, as Lieberman's constituency? 

Sometimes people really confuse Leadership with Dictatorship...

by Hammer1001 2010-02-20 12:03PM | 1 recs
RE: My feeling

I think you have a good point there. I remeber seeing a flash animation right after the election re energy policy that depicted obama as a superhero and the activist base as his sidekick, fighthing their opponents together.

If this were a superhero comic, Obama would be Batman and the liberal blogoshere would be Robin--if you can picture Robin as the Joker's silent partner.

by spirowasright 2010-02-20 08:20PM | 0 recs
RE: My feeling

I think of Obama as Superman and the activist base as Ms. Tesmocker (from the first movie).  Superficially attracted to his "goodness", sits by and watches the bad guy attempt to actually destroy him, only gets involved when something they care about is suddenly threatened.

Or else the Blog-o-sphere is Catwoman...both evil and sometimes good.

In the end I think we are a bunch of good-intentioned wanna-be's that are jealous of the things Obama can and is doing, and maybe in the end we reluctantly help him out.

by Hammer1001 2010-02-21 01:24AM | 0 recs
RE: My feeling

"If this were a superhero comic, Obama would be Batman and the liberal blogoshere would be Robin--if you can picture Robin as the Joker's silent partner."


your analogy might work if Robin turned on Batman after Batman started kicking Robin in the balls every time he sees him, and after Batman decided to start working for giant soulless corporations who had been victimizing Gotham's sickest citizens.

by jeopardy 2010-02-23 04:32PM | 0 recs
Something occurs to me

We keep talking about the insurance cos.  and how they're ripping everybody off.  I'm not a big fan of insurance cos. in general, but the rate hikes announced by Anthem seem to suggest that the current system really is good for no one at all - not even the insurance companies.  I really doubt they would insert themselves into the conversation in this way unless their back really was against the wall.  They raised rates because they had to. 

We can argue that the people at the top of the company should have their salaries slashed or that insurance by itself is a convuluted, inefficient endeavor.  I don't disagree with any of this.  But they are operating within a certain system.  And right now that system just plain sucks for all parties.

by the mollusk 2010-02-20 11:15PM | 0 recs
RE: Something occurs to me

This reminds me of K-mart back in..what, '99-'00?  They reported earnings that were in-line with expectations...and promptly had their stock sold off and incurred a huge debt-mess because they had not found ways to inflate their earnings for stock-holders.  They were PUNISHED for doing what they said they would because they did not also have a surprise present to give stock holders.  A year or two later, it turned out their competition was cooking the books, so to speak, to keep the pressure up and used the post 9/11 crash to cover it up.

The companies involved are not innocent by a long shot, nor are they deserving of sympathy.  They have gotten their sharholders addicted to unrealistic earnings and have no way to stop.

BUT...all companies are in this mess.  And any one company that tries to correct and get on solid ground...gets punished by the market to the point of bankruptcy.  It is currently a massive game of chicken between companies of like products.  I cannot see a way to end it that does not end up with either whole sectors of the economy collapsing OR a Govt intervention that would very publicly end the out-of-hand free-market we got into with "Deregulation Ronnie", not that all the blame goes to him.

Add to that the political clout of the Boomers who are freaking that their shiny retirement into the sunset (that they completely and totally deserve, dammit!, at all costs to others) is all a mirage and you have a smashing party!

by Hammer1001 2010-02-21 01:17AM | 0 recs
RE: Something occurs to me

"They raised rates because they had to."


I think you are seriously underestimating the power of greed on the part of people who don't have to stay in their job after walking away with $$millions/billions

by jeopardy 2010-02-23 04:33PM | 0 recs
RE: Something occurs to me

But if they waited six months to do this, no one would've even noticed (outside of CA) and the prospects for HCR would still be quite dead.  It's like they intentionally brought the issue back to life.  I tend not to believe in conspiracies, so if you discount the possibility that they've wanted HCR all along, the only other reasonable explanation is that the ship was sinking fast.

by the mollusk 2010-02-24 04:50PM | 0 recs


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