Sep 15, 2009

Dissecting Obama’s health care speech

by Mattison Brooks

Apparently President Barack Obama was aware of the many misconceptions regarding the health care debate, which is why during his speech to Congress Sept. 9, he directly and clearly described steps the government will take to solve the health care issue. But did the president bring all the facts to the table for the American people to hear, to create an understanding about the merits of the health care plan the government is so carefully crafting?

During the speech, Obama’s tone was stern, demonstrating a clear understanding of just what was at stake not only for himself and his approval ratings but also for the Democrat-controlled Congress. The president spoke passionately about the costs of health care for both the country as a whole and individual Americans. Obama discussed plans to regulate insurance companies and re-construct treatment rules, coverage and caps on insurance benefits.

Obama spoke of several emotional incidents where insurance carriers revoked coverage of patients because of pre-existing medical conditions. For example, the president talked about of a woman who was scheduled for a double mastectomy, which would have removed both of her cancer-infested breasts, but was ultimately turned away because she did not declare a pre-existing case of acne.

“That is heart-breaking, that is wrong and no one should be treated that way in the United States of America,” Obama said.

Obama also spoke of the costs of health care and the fact that in America, coverage is 1.5 times more expensive per person than any other country. Furthermore, the president went on to say that “our health care problem is our deficit problem. Nothing else comes close.”

To be fair, the president brought up the argumentative politics around the health care debate as well. He pointed out those on the left wing who seek a single-payer system like Canada’s, where the private insurance market is restricted and coverage is provided for all. Then Obama also addressed the right wing’s long-term goal of removing employer-sponsored insurance and leaving people to buy insurance on their own. The president said that there “are arguments to be made for both approaches” and that each or “represents a radical shift that would disrupt the health care that most people currently have.”

My summation and examples are by no means comprehensive, because Obama’s speech was nearly an hour long. These were among the more interesting tidbits and by interesting I mean blatantly hypocritical and downright panderous. There is much more that could have been picked apart. However, to pick apart every hypocritical or ridiculous statement that Obama made during his speech would be more difficult than safely navigating a large minefield on a pogo stick.

But let the numbers talk for themselves — after Obama gave his speech to Congress, his approval ratings improved by 1 percent up to 51 percent, according to rasmussenreports.com.

All facetiousness aside, the president accomplished what he set out to do in his speech: to improve his image in the eyes of average Americans. He said what people wanted to hear, he blamed unpopular practices for the current state of America’s health care system and discussed in detail ideas that could be described as surface-level common sense.

Most importantly, the president ignored answers or topics that would raise dangerous questions, politically speaking, of course. Questions like, what would nationwide health insurance cost? Is strict governmental regulation of private insurance companies capitalistically or legally ethical? Will there be legislation to prevent unionization of the medical profession? Is any of this backed up by the Constitution?

And for no other reason than to put this absurd presidential address behind us, I would like to extend congratulations to the president for his improved job performance (1 percent). I also commend him for gracefully avoiding stepping on more American toes and having the “courtesy” to just insult our intelligence instead.

Contact Mattison Brooks at embrooks@liberty.edu.
 


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