Rallying the Troops: Obama’s Remarks to Organizing for America

20 Aug
I just got done listening to President Obama preach to the choir. I know that’s what it was, because I found myself continually nodding and thinking, “How do people not understand this?” To recap, here’s what he had to say:

Winning the election was just the start. While the Administration has made good progress on a number of fronts (e.g., economic recovery, insuring 11 million children through S-CHIP, beginning withdrawal from Iraq, and a host of other things), Obama says that he and others are “proud, but not satisfied.” There is more to be done, and right now that “more” is health care reform.

He asked people to continue doing what they did so well during the election, to “keep working steadily, deliberately, and sensibly….” and to keep “cutting through absurd claims.” He laid out the popular misconceptions of death panels, tax-funded abortions, government takeovers and the like before chuckling and pausing briefly, seemingly at a loss for words, before saying, “Now, come on. We can have a real debate because health care is hard.” He then enumerated the basic facts of the proposed reform:

  • If you like your doctor and/or your current health plan, you can keep it
  • If you are uninsured, government intends to provide you with affordable options, ONE of which would be a public plan
  • The public plan is simply one option among many, and is there in conjunction with regulation to compete with private insurers (He described this as the belt (regulation) and suspenders (competing against a non-profit entity) approach to keeping private insurers profits reasonable)
  • There would be an expansion of consumer choice
  • No exclusions for pre-existing conditions
  • No annual or lifetime caps on benefits
  • You can keep your coverage if you get sick or if you lose or change your job
  • Reform will strengthen Medicare

He concluded by saying that “this has never been easy” and opponents of Social Security and Medicaid and Medicare used the same tactics we’re seeing today when they labeled FDR a socialist, and claimed that first JFK and then LBJ intended a government takeover of health care.

But, he mentions, opponents of reform should note: “If you like the status quo, you should know that it is not sustainable. That means, if you like [the coverage] you have now, you should know that without some significant changes now, you won’t continue to have it, because you will continue to pay more and more of your income to purchase benefits, and that’s provided that your employer continues to offer them to you, which many won’t because they will just find it prohibitively expensive….Especially small businesses.”

As we enter the final two weeks of the August recess, the battle over health reform is far from over. So, I echo now the President’s concluding remark from this afternoon’s conference: “Let’s go get ’em.”

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Posted by on August 20, 2009 in Uncategorized


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