Obama looks West, to the Web in health care fight
By PHILIP ELLIOTT
Aug. 12, 2009
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama is turning his eyes West and hitting the Web as he steps up his counteroffensive against critics of a proposed health care overhaul.
Obama assailed “wild misrepresentations” of his health care plan Tuesday during a town hall-style meeting in Portsmouth, N.H., taking on the role of fact-checker-in-chief for his top domestic priority. It’s a strategy he will employ at two more town halls this week in Montana and Colorado, and on the White House Web site.
To that end, the Obama-aligned Democratic National Committee is running health care overhaul ads nationally on cable channels and in spots the president will visit, joining a chorus of ads that has become a cacophony over a problem that has vexed Washington for decades.
On the other side, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce was joining the fray Wednesday, beginning to air 30-second spots in about 20 states criticizing the Democratic proposal to offer optional government health coverage, according to R. Bruce Josten, executive vice president of the nation’s largest business group.
The multimillion-dollar buy would be one of the largest so far critical of Obama’s effort, in a year in which opponents have been heavily outspent by supporters of the president’s plan. The spot, showing a balloon being inflated until it bursts, says: “Big tax increases, huge deficits, expanded government control of health care. Call Congress.”
In Portsmouth, Obama faced a polite crowd of 1,800 packed into a high school auditorium and a nationwide audience watching on cable television. He urged them not to listen to those who seek to “scare and mislead” on his plans to overhaul the nation’s health care system.
“Where we do disagree, let’s disagree over things that are real, not these wild misrepresentations that bear no resemblance to anything that’s actually been proposed,” he said. “Because the way politics works sometimes is that people who want to keep things the way they are will try to scare the heck out of folks, and they’ll create boogeymen out there.”
The boogeymen have prompted the White House to strike back. The president ticked off the highest-profile, most emotional issues that critics have used to greatest advantage to interrupt town hall meetings held by lawmakers home for the August congressional recess.
For instance, Obama said the Democratic health care legislation would not create “death panels” to deny care to frail seniors — or “basically pull the plug on grandma because we decided that it’s too expensive to let her live anymore,” as the president put it. The provision he said had led to such talk would only authorize Medicare to pay doctors for counseling patients about end-of-life care if they want it, he contended.
He also disputed accusations that he seeks a federally run system, or one in which the government makes decisions about care.
Obama’s new message, sharpened amid sliding public support for him and his plan, targeted a vital and, polls show, particularly skeptical audience: the tens of millions of people who already have health insurance and aren’t yet convinced of a need to spend billions of dollars to change it or cover the nearly 50 million people who lack coverage.
That message is finding reinforcements online. The White House launched a Web site to counter critics and asked supporters to share with them e-mails they say misrepresent Obama’s positions. It’s a tactic similar to the one the tech-savvy Obama campaign used to win the White House.
Well I am quite sure the Insurance companies will be putting out all sorts of propaganda about Health Care reforms. Wouldn’t want anyone cutting into their profits. Insurance companies will do anything and everything possible to stop any changes to Health Care, including lie to people. Fear mongering at it’s finest. Considering how may people are without health care and how many are insured and still denied treatments, people should be a bit more intelligent then to believe the the propaganda being put out there. Many countries around the world have Government run Health Care systems and the majority work just fine. Universal Health Care is something no one should be afraid of unless of course you are the one loosing profits like insurance companies. Imagine never having a problem getting treated for an injuries or an illness. Insurance companies could care less if you live or die. No one should be denied Health Care. Insurance companies should be removed from the Health Care system as far as I am concerned. They only profit from the sick and helpless. You may pay more taxes for Health Care, but when you remove the payments to Insurance companies you will pay less in the long run. Government run Health Care is cheaper then through insurance companies. Governments don’t need profit, insurance companies do.
“I suffer no illusions that this will be an easy process. It will be hard. But I also know that nearly a century after Teddy Roosevelt first called for reform, the cost of our health care has weighed down our economy and the conscience of our nation long enough. So let there be no doubt: health care reform cannot wait, it must not wait, and it will not wait another year.”
– President Barack Obama, February 24, 2009
- The President signed the Children’s Health Insurance Reauthorization Act on February 4, 2009, which provides quality health care to 11 million kids – 4 million who were previously uninsured.
- The President’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act protects health coverage for 7 million Americans who lose their jobs through a 65 percent COBRA subsidy to make coverage affordable.
- The Recovery Act also invests $19 billion in computerized medical records that will help to reduce costs and improve quality while ensuring patients’ privacy.
- The Recovery Act also provides:
- $1 billion for prevention and wellness to improve America’s health and help to reduce health care costs;
- $1.1 billion for research to give doctors tools to make the best treatment decisions for their patients by providing objective information on the relative benefits of treatments; and
- $500 million for health workforce to help train the next generation of doctors and nurses.
President Obama is committed to working with Congress to pass comprehensive health reform in his first year in order to control rising health care costs, guarantee choice of doctor, and assure high-quality, affordable health care for all Americans.
- Learn about the fundamental health insurance consumer protections included in reform.
Comprehensive health care reform can no longer wait. Rapidly escalating health care costs are crushing family, business, and government budgets. Employer-sponsored health insurance premiums have doubled in the last 9 years, a rate 3 times faster than cumulative wage increases. This forces families to sit around the kitchen table to make impossible choices between paying rent or paying health premiums. Given all that we spend on health care, American families should not be presented with that choice. The United States spent approximately $2.2 trillion on health care in 2007, or $7,421 per person – nearly twice the average of other developed nations. Americans spend more on health care than on housing or food. If rapid health cost growth persists, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that by 2025, one out of every four dollars in our national economy will be tied up in the health system. This growing burden will limit other investments and priorities that are needed to grow our economy. Rising health care costs also affect our economic competitiveness in the global economy, as American companies compete against companies in other countries that have dramatically lower health care costs.
The President has vowed that the health reform process will be different in his Administration – an open, inclusive, and transparent process where all ideas are encouraged and all parties work together to find a solution to the health care crisis. Working together with members of Congress, doctors and hospitals, businesses and unions, and other key health care stakeholders, the President is committed to making sure we finally enact comprehensive health care reform.
The Administration believes that comprehensive health reform should:
- Reduce long-term growth of health care costs for businesses and government
- Protect families from bankruptcy or debt because of health care costs
- Guarantee choice of doctors and health plans
- Invest in prevention and wellness
- Improve patient safety and quality of care
- Assure affordable, quality health coverage for all Americans
- Maintain coverage when you change or lose your job
- End barriers to coverage for people with pre-existing medical conditions
Please visit www.HealthReform.gov to learn more about the President’s commitment to enacting comprehensive health reform this year.
Don’t let Insurance Companies destroy the lives of people anymore.
Universal Health Care is the way to go. Let the people win this one.
All people rich or poor, deserve Universal Health Care.