ABC commentator George Stephanopoulos glowingly pronounced President Barack Obama’s speech on healthcare to a joint session of Congress “remarkable.”
Indeed it was — for how out of touch it was with the American people.
“The time for bickering is over,” Obama told members of Congress. “The time for games has passed. Now is the season for action.”
But an overwhelming majority of Americans who are insured are satisfied with their health coverage and believe they receive the best healthcare in the world. They see no need for “action.”
Obama again proposed a public option that he claimed would not be forced on anyone. But most Americans recognize that a government-subsidized plan would eventually drive existing private insurance companies out of business.
Obama said he would pay for the $900 billion cost of his proposal over the next decade with savings in federal health spending programs and a new tax on insurance companies whose plans cost more than certain amounts. But the savings are illusory. A new study by the Lewin Group concludes that during the second 10 years of the plan, the House version of Obama’s proposal would actually add more than $1 trillion to the deficit.
By repeatedly claiming that Republicans have no alternative plan, Obama undercuts his credibility. A long line of Republicans have introduced bills that would employ market forces to expand health insurance coverage while cutting costs through real reform, like discouraging frivolous medical malpractice lawsuits.
In his speech, Obama made a compelling case for covering all Americans. Republican plans would help achieve that by providing tax credits to help pay for coverage. To encourage competition, Republicans would expand insurance pools Americans can join by allowing churches, alumni associations, trade associations and other civic groups to create insurance pools for their members. To overcome the problem of insurance companies rejecting people with pre-existing conditions, Republicans would fund high-risk insurance pools in each sate.
Obama’s comment during the campaign about “bitter” small-town voters who “cling” to their faith, along with their guns, and their “antipathy to people who aren’t like them,” suggests that he has disdain for a large segment of Americans.
By pushing a healthcare plan that most Americans do not want, Obama only underscored that fact.
Ronald Kessler is chief Washington correspondent of Newsmax.com. View his previous reports and get his dispatches sent to you free via
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