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Karl Rove: Obama Speech 'Bitter and Partisan'

By Rick Pedraza   |   Thursday, 10 Sep 2009 12:11 AM

Former presidential adviser Karl Rove said President Barack Obama’s address to Congress Wednesday night was “gratuitously bitter and partisan,” and that Obama’s biggest problem with his proposed plan for healthcare reform was its glaring misstatements and distortions.

Calling it “not an exceptionally good speech,” Rove told Fox News Wednesday there were several things within Obama’s plan that Republican opponents can pick from.

“He’s not shooting straight with us,” Rove said about the section of Obama’s speech in which he talked about the “so-called lies and statements” about his proposal.

“Obama said people are concerned with setting up death panels to kill off senior citizens, but that’s not what they’re concerned about,” Rove told Fox News. “They’re concerned about the proposal that basically says we’re going to incentivize doctors to sit down with [a patient] and go over end-of-life decisions.”

Obama said it was a myth that his plan would insure illegal aliens, Rove noted. “That’s absolutely false. Obama keeps talking about 46 million uninsured Americans who don’t have health insurance. The U.S. Census Dept. says 9.7 million of those are illegal aliens.”

Rove refuted Obama’s contention that there will be no government takeover of the healthcare business by saying that if you want to get more competition, the way to get it is not by setting up a new government entity which runs an exchange.

“You simply get rid of the requirements that keep companies from selling insurance in every state. We ought to be able to buy health insurance across state lines like we buy auto insurance.”

Rove doesn’t believe the president when he promises the American people that no one will force anyone to give up their coverage.

“The fact of the matter is the proposal –– which was designed in the House of Representatives –– says if you’re a business you can either continue to provide health care to your employees or you can pay a fine equal to 8.5 percent of your payroll costs. Those companies now are paying for healthcare coverage in excess of 8.5 percent. So, they pay the fine, dump the coverage, and you’re in the government program.”

Rove disagrees with Obama when he says his plan will not add to the deficit, but notes the Congressional Budget Office has determined it will add to the deficit in the first 10 years.

“In [the president’s] proposal, you have 10 years of tax increases and benefit cuts in Medicare to fund eight years or less of the program,” Rove explained. “So, by the eighth or ninth year, you’ve run through the surplus you built up in the first two years, where all you are doing is collecting money and not spending it. Then there’s a deficit by the tenth year.”

Rove disagrees with Obama having said no new plan would force cuts in the Medicare program and points to the president’s own White House Web site that says there will be $622 billion in Medicare cuts.

“If it’s so easy to cut, cut it now!” he implored.

In addressing tort reform, Rove said Obama is merely tossing Republicans a fig leaf that he finds, “frankly, disappointing.” He noted that the Bush administration, for which he served as White House deputy chief of staff, was in favor of comprehensive medical liability reform and the Democrats blocked it.

“As a backup, we said: ‘Let us try some little demonstration projects to show how this works,’ and the Democrats blocked that in Congress.” Rove said Obama should have embraced the medical liability reform law that would save, according to federal budgeters, $38 billion of taxpayer dollars every year through defensive medicine.

“We would save a big chunk of that through medical liability reform and he didn’t endorse it.”

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