Why Obama might have just killed Obamacare

July 23, 2009

If President Obama’s prime-time speech and news conference were intended to push national healthcare reform over the political goal line, then the effort almost certainly failed. Do more Americans today better understand the still-evolving plans floating around Capitol Hill than they did yesterday? Unlikely.

Take the idea of a health insurance exchange, a feature found in all the Democratic congressional plans. Obama described it as a “marketplace that promotes choice and competition,” as if it were a healthcare version of eBay. Actually, the exchanges would be a government regulatory mechanism that could severely limit consumer choice. Or maybe not. In any case, there are few outside of Washington think tanks who have any idea this idea would work in practice across the country.

Nor was the president clear about the exact role of the government in a changed healthcare delivery system. Although Obama said any bill he signs would “keep government out of health care decisions,” the whole point of Obamacare is to use government to transform how doctor’s provide service by altering incentives.

Now maybe it would be a nudge — to use the language of behavioral economists — from Washington rather than a shove, but few non-experts have any sense of how a typical doctor visit might change. Sure, having a physician prescribe a cheaper blue pill rather than a pricier red pill if they both work the same is a no brainer. But what if the red pill is pricier, no more effective but has fewer nasty side effects like nausea? Or what if the red pill is 40 percent more effective but costs 80 percent more? Who is going to make the red pill-blue pill decision?

But Obama really wasn’t giving a closing argument as to why his plan would be the right solution to America’s healthcare problems. Instead, lackluster public interest in the issue — at least as compared with the recession and rising unemployment — led him to spend considerable time explaining yet again why reform is needed and needed now.  Ideally, as the White House sees things, the public would have already accepted its narrative that a) Team Obama stabilized the bad economy it inherited, b) although economy is slowly mending it will take time for the jobs to appear, and c) so while we’re waiting, let’s fix healthcare. But Obama probably didn’t help himself by burying his most powerful argument for middle-class voters with health insurance — that rising healthcare costs prevent bigger wage increases.

Then again, maybe the president’s real problem boils down to his apparent belief in the false choice he presented: “You know, just a broader point, if somebody told you that there is a plan out there that is guaranteed to double your health care costs over the next 10 years, that’s guaranteed to result in more Americans losing their health care and that is by far the biggest contributor to our federal deficit, I think most people would be opposed to that. Well, that’s status quo. … So if we don’t change, we can’t expect a different result.”

Yet it might not be a case of Americans being too comfortable with the status quo as much as it is one of Americans being extremely uncomfortable with Obama’s version of a new status quo.

So was the president successful in getting out his message? Here’s one bad sign: The top morning news shows led not with healthcare but with Obama’s slam against police officers that arrested his friend and college professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. With Congress stymied and public interest waning, a muddled message means a lost opportunity for Obama and healthcare reform.

66 comments

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To add a bit to your opening analogy… if Obama’s prime-time speech and news conference were intended to push national healthcare reform over the political goal line, he may have instead found himself getting sacked out of field goal range.

Certainly the kool-aid drinkers would follow him all the way over the cliff, but I am convinced this six-month orgiastic barrage of liberal extremism must have the swing-middle beginning to seriously frown at the prospect that they’ve been swindled.

Posted by Douglas Chalk | Report as abusive

[...] JAMES PETHOKOUKIS: Why Obama Might Have Just Killed Obamacare. [...]

Chris Dodd has no business righting this legislation. This is the last guy that should be entrusted w/ this. The corruption in DC needs to stop.

And Christopher J Dodd needs to go NOW

Posted by J | Report as abusive

LOL… Chris Dodd has no business.. writing.. this legislation either.

Posted by J | Report as abusive

Well said. The Democrat argument for these bloated, confused, strange bills that nobody understands seems to boil down to- ‘how much worse can it get?’. The answer, of course, is ‘much more, indeed’. And i think most Americans intrinsically understand that.

Posted by Mark Buehner | Report as abusive

“Just killed”?

You had a catchy title, but didn’t sell it.

Posted by apetra | Report as abusive

I have sent this same basic email to several sites of the past couple of days. I have yet to have a simple basic question answered by anyone. It is a question that I firmly believe is important and fundamental to the health care debate. Here is a copy of a letter I sent to my Congressman, John Sarbanes, D MD. I have yet to receive an answer.

“Dear Mr. Sarbanes,
I would like you, personally, to answer one simple question:

If HB 3200 is such a good bill for this country, WHY is/are Congress, the President, VP, and all federal employees specifically exempt from the provisions of this bill?

After all, if it is good enough for the rest of us, it SHOULD be good enough for you, your family, Congress, the President and all federal employees.

R.A. Vail”

I would genuinely, like to get a reasoned answer to this question. It’s not one I’ve seen asked, or answered. Because, I sure can’t seem to get one anywhere else.
R. A. Vail

“Pray that you will never have to bear all that you are able to endure.”
Jewish Proverb”

To further the anology: Obama re healthcare sounds a lot like Bush regarding Social Security reform after his 2004 re-election, and that wound up as spent political capital wasted, too. Some might argue, even, that at least those were good ideas that eventually will be adopted by their then-opponents out of necessity.
It’s hard to say that about health care. Ours today may not be perfect, but it can certainly be less perfect — or, even, ruined — by the kind of “Obamanations” federal beaurocracies render. Doing nothing may be the most palatable action — if also less than perfect — in the long run.
Alas, governments aren’t composed to do nothing.

Posted by Tim | Report as abusive

The press and the country are entirely wrong about what “press conferences” are for.

Obama should have released a detailed “white paper” describing his summary and justification for his health care proposals. (And such a paper for his other policy recommendations.) We need proposed results, methods, justifications, funding sources, comparitive studies, past successes, the works. This is the United States Government. The public cannot participate in a government that runs on policies proposed on cocktail napkins.

The absence of this white paper is appalling. Instead, we have closed, imperial government. The press and public should be able to review that undelivered document. It is not enough to review bills (even if the bills were available to review!). The white paper is policy, justification, and reasons; the legislative bills are execution.

A press conference is supposed to question the President on his knowledge of the policy already presented in detailed, white paper form. It is for the President to reconcile any apparant contradictions. It is to reassure the public that he knows about what he is proposing.

Instead, we have a few questions and vague speeches about what we would all like in a perfect world, and about the power and money that Obama wants ahead of time to work on it.

It is a magician’s trick, to treat press conferences as if they could in any way communicate the needed information, for either support or criticism.

Alas, they ARE less than perfect!

Posted by Tim | Report as abusive

“But Obama probably didn’t help himself by burying his most powerful argument for middle-class voters with health insurance — that rising healthcare costs prevent bigger wage increases.”

Well, so do higher income taxes and payroll taxes, which is where this thing is headed if it passes.

Posted by CaptainVictory | Report as abusive

Oh there is a message coming through: – less health care for more money. It’s one reason the president can’t be clear.

I think obama had the Gates question planted for the purpose of bringing race into the healthcare discussion. Healthcare needs to be changed, and by the way, racism is alive and well. He wanted people to conflate the two in their minds. “we have to do something about health care now, because blacks are suffering the most and we are all racists”. But instead, the thing backfired and even the sycophant media is fired up about that police officer. Good! Obama’s conniving is not always going to help him out. America pay attention: Obama’s lyin and you’re buyin’. In more ways than one.

Posted by alana burlestone | Report as abusive

What a waste of an hour of prime time. Obama did nothing to explain what the government health care would be better. There is now way WE THE PEOPLE can believe that the government can do something this massive at the cost they quote. Every program the liberal have enacted has ended costing much much more than was quoted. I have a fundamental right to privacy but Barry wants to put all of my medical records into a Wash DC government database, didn’t we learn from Joe the Plumber that whenever a lib wants to smear you the hack public employees will do a dumpster dive on you. I like my health care the way it is, and I do not feel that due to 15 percent without insurance but still got care is a call to put this power in Barry’s hands.

Posted by rich hern | Report as abusive

[...] at least hope that the light I see at the end of the tunnel isn’t an onrushing train. Today, the great James Pethokoukis was the first to make me think that even an onrushing train can be [...]

I would agree with most everything you wrote except what’s going on right now is not an attempt to reform health care, it’s an attempt to grab control of that segment of our economy and increased control over our lives. (And apparently you didn’t hear–we’re not talking about “health care reform” anymore, we’re talking about “health care insurance reform”.) All you have to do is look at the proposed legislation to know this has nothing to do with reform. And much of it has nothing to do with health care. The monstrosities working their way through both Chambers must not be allowed to stand. We will not get true reform from this Congress or this president.

Posted by Kyda Sylvester | Report as abusive

Obama is a narcissist. He believes his own lies.
It’s a toss up whether he will destroy the Democratic Party before he destroys America.

Legions of czars and scores of Goldman Sachs people have been appointed by Obama into high government financial positions.

Acorn is being funded with taxpayer money, Chicago-style.

These community organizer tactics are being assembled to STEAL the 2012 election.

I predict another catastrophe before 2012 election. It will probably involve oil, land or religion. Not money.

BE PREPARED.

Posted by mad-as-H | Report as abusive

Andrew Garland has an excellent point. Where is the white paper that explains his plan? The Beverage Report led to the NHS. A similar report was published in Canada. There actually are good models for reform; the French system is probably the best as France is a large country and has 98% coverage of its population yet the system is popular and widely praised. It is also quite similar to our own system and the transition would be far less traumatic than the Obama plans suggest for what Congress is considering. The trouble is that Congress is so corrupt that no one can trust their representatives.

WE HAVE DELAYED THE ONE, BUE HE WILL NOT GIVE UP.

CONTINUE THE PRESSURE – CALL OR FAX THE FOLLOWING INVOLVED IN TRYING TO PAY FOR OBAMA’S PLAN:

Montana – Baucus and Tester
Senator Max Baucus / (202) 224-2651(Office) (202) 224-9412 (Fax)
Senator Jon Tester / Phone: (202) 224-2644 Fax: (202) 224-8594
North Dakota – Dorgan and Conrad
Senator Byron Dorgan Phone: (202) 224-2644 Fax: (202) 224-8594
Senator Kent Conrad Phone: (202) 224-2043 Fax: (202) 224-7776
South Dakota – Senator Tim Johnson Phone (202) 224-5842 Fax: 202-228-5765
Nebraska – Senator Ben Nelson Phone: 202-224-6551 Fax: 402-391-4725
Arkansas – Senator Mark Pryor Phone: (202) 224-2353. Fax: (202) 228-0908
Senator Blanche Lincoln Phone: 202-224-4843 Fax: 202-228-1371
Louisiana – Senator Mary Landrieu Phone: 202-224-5824 Fax: 202-224-9735
North Carolina – Senator Kay Hagan Phone: 202-224-6342. Fax: 202-228-2563
Indiana – Senator Evan Bayh Phone: 202-224-5623 Fax: 202-228-1377
Connecticut – Senator Joe Lieberman Phone: 202-224-4041. Fax: 202-224-9750
Maine – Senator Olympia Snow Phone: Toll Free: 800-432-1599. Fax: 207-622-7295
Senator Susan Collins Phone: 207-945-0417. Fax: 207-990-4604
Kathleen Sebilius – Sec. HHS: Phone: 800-223-8164. Fax: 202-690-7203

Posted by mad-as-H | Report as abusive

The President wants health care to change in this country. However he hasn’t effectively addressed job 1 — cost. Instead he is adding to taxes. He hasn’t demonstrated how the proposal can bend the cost curve in a sustainable way. Follow the health care debate at http://www.ilovebenefits.wordpress.com

Doesn’t make any difference what Obama did or didn’t do last night. He doesn’t have to sell it or even understand it when he knows he’ll get his way. Chicago rules….

The dems control both houses and the press. The blue dogs will fall in line once the pork for their home districts is threatened. Inducements will persuade O. Snowe and Sue Collins to give their backing, thus implicating the Repubs when this goes over the cliff.

The writing is on the wall. It’ll take more than words and wishful thinking to stop this. We’re stuck with this turkey, whatever it turns out to be.

Posted by Bob Young | Report as abusive

This is about one thing – Barack Obama’s continued war on the American economy and his desire to “remake” this great nation into a clone of the former Soviet Union. Socialism on parade, nothing more. This abomination must be stopped, for the good of the nation and our children. I served 10 years in the Marines, and I did not serve to see it destroyed by Obama, Pelosi and Reid. This must end, now!

Posted by Former Marine | Report as abusive

As you point out, the devil is in the details, and those in power appear to have few of those details at hand. I think that most people are hesitant and skeptical because of the previous EMERGENCY! PASS IT NOW! DON’T READ IT! The Democrats screwed themselves thanks to Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. With the price tag involved, people want details and they want costs. Obama can scream EMERGENCY! all he wants, the public isn’t buying it.

Posted by GarandFan | Report as abusive

To focus the point that Kyda Sylvester made on this “press conference”, Obama can’t sell his plan as the “right solution to America’s healthcare problems” because it’s not that. It’s a solution to the Democrats’ problem of not having as strong a hold on the country as they’d like.

And to continue Andrew_M_Garland’s excellent point, a white paper is pretty much impossible because you can’t match Obama’s solution to problems most of the nation cares about.

Posted by Harold | Report as abusive

For years, my wife struggled with a pretty bad chronic illness. What got her back to normal was a doctor’s hunch to treat her for a slightly different illness than what she had. Right now we’re hearing about how doctors need to look at the comparative effectiveness chart to see that the red pill is just as good as the blue pill for half the price. But what my wife needed was a yellow pill that wasn’t specified for her diagnosis*. We didn’t have health insurance, so the process of finding what she needed damn near bankrupted us. For this, I feel acutely the value of improving health care access. But I have to balance that against the concern that with the current proposals my wife wife would still be limping along on the red pill, sort of better, instead of being back to normal with the yellow pill.

When I hear about all the proposals out there, I understand that the people making them mean well. But I don’t think they get that medicine is still an art as well as a science. By trying to get smart about health care delivery I’m afraid they’ll wind up stomping on the intuition and luck that close the gap when what’s in the handbook isn’t working. And the responses I’m hearing to questions about these things tell me they either don’t get this or don’t even want to get it if it gets in the way or their grand plans.

*Obviously the talk of red, blue and yellow pills is an extension of Obama’s metaphor, not a literal description of the pills in question.

Why is nobody asking the most obvious question: What constitutional provision allows the federal government to force citizens to purchase insurance?

Posted by Joe | Report as abusive

I have a vested interest in not wanting to go to death counseling in place of health care. If this isn’t just discrimination based on age. Obama exposed himself as a racial bigot who hates white cops. He should resign.

Posted by nobozons | Report as abusive

Obama doesn’t even know the details of his own plan! All he did was give his usual four-minute answers to simple questions. This program is a joke! The “Health Benefits Advisory Committee” is nothing more than a rationing body. I really worry about our elderly if this thing passes.

http://www.Thatnameistaken.wordpress.com

if somebody told you that there is a plan out there that is guaranteed to double your health care costs over the next 10 years Well, if someone told me that, I’d first say “prove it”. Let me see that data. Don’t just tell me because so far everything this administration has told We the People has not been truthful.

In return I’d like to as der leader a question. When 91% of Americans have health care insurance and 84% of them rate their plan as “excellent” or “good”; and when you remove illegal aliens and those that qualify but have not signed up for Medicare and those that purposely self-insure, you end up with approximately 9 million insured – why on earth would this administration suggest that we entirely redo the health care system? Why aren’t we just looking into possibly offering a way for these 9 million to become insured?

I thought that the pres. sounded incoherent. Except the part about the sore throat… “you have a sore throat, no wait… your child has a sore throat… no wait your child has had several sore throats” I knew exactly what he meant. I have had a sore throat and so has my child, in fact, we have both had several. Never once has a doctor told either of us that we need our tonsils out.. go figure.

What amazes me the most is the fact that we are on our way to having all of our medical records online, with the government able to access them and a government employee telling our doctors what to do about our medical treatment (thanks to the stimulus package). Remember the absolute OUTRAGE when the Bush administration wanted to monitor wireless communications… Every one was livid…. Amazing that since I order pizza on my cell phone and I see my doctor naked. I do not want the government to have access to my medical records. I don’t want them online where they can be hacked into. I don’t want the government telling my doctor how to take care of me. I’d rather have them listening to my mostly inane telephone calls thank you.. By the way, wasn’t it President Obama who never released any medical records while both John McCain and Sarah Palin did….

Posted by Lisa | Report as abusive

Obama exposed himself as a racial bigot who hates white cops. and of course those who 1) cling to their guns 2) those who cling to the religion 3) the chattering class 4)White firemen 5) and now old people who just need to die for the “common good”.

What constitutional provision allows the federal government to force citizens to purchase insurance? When has BHO been concerned with the Constitution? Did you see a provision for the government to take over car companies, buy them with taxpayers’ money and put senior creditors behind unions? Isn’t the president of the USA suppose to serve all the American people without exclusion of Rush Limbaugh, the chatter class, gun totters, religious, old people, white firemen and policemen?

[...] didn’t see The One’s presser last night, but from accounts it was a disaster for him politically. Memo to the President: if you’re gonna call a prime-time press [...]

having all of our medical records online, with the government able to access them and a government employee telling our doctors what to do about our medical treatment Oh and don’t forget that provision that gives the government access to your bank account so they can withdraw your premiums! I don’t want the US Government in my bank account! And, I can imagine the absolute nightmare when they accidentally add a couple of zeros to someone’s premium, over draw the account and then leave the victim to try to get it back!

I wonder if the real loser here, besides Hussein, will be Gov. Romney. He is polling strongly against Hussein right now but his Mass. health care bomb is becoming an example of what can go wrong with these things.

He needs to to do a Mea Culpa and distance himself from it, and get ahead of the guilt he’ll be saddled with down the road.

As for Hussein, he’s just an extension of the drones who voted for him. Don’t blame him, blame the hordes who assumed anything was better than VP Palin.

Posted by Awake | Report as abusive

*Obviously the talk of red, blue and yellow pills is an extension of Obama’s metaphor, not a literal description of the pills in question. Some good points Geoff B. let’s add to that my situation under military (government run) health care. I use to have bronchitis, turning to pneumonia and then asthma twice a year like clock work due to allergies. The government rules required military doctors to put me on an antibiotic (the blue pill) for 2 weeks even though the doctor and I knew from experience the blue pill didn’t work for me, before they were allowed to move me to an antibiotic (the red pill) that we knew from experience did work for me.

So I got an extra 2 weeks of suffering AND the government actually spent more to waste the blue pill on me while also having to treat my progressive symptoms of pneumonia and then asthma (along with repeat doctors’ visits and a chance of hospitalization) all because some bureaucrat who didn’t know me or have a medical degree decided we give out blue pills for two weeks before we move on to red pills.

GarandFan : You said “the devil is in the details” and then apparently presumed that because you haven’t heard the details from BHO and Congress, that they don’t know them or don’t have them planned yet. Oh there are details! They just don’t want to tell you about them. Here they are read them and weep.

Actually, Gates and Obama’s support of him killed health care reform…

Posted by Mary Jo Kopechne | Report as abusive

Bob Young : Unfortunately, I believe you are right. Congress and BHO don’t give a wit about what We the People want or even what we get. BHO and Pelosi said this horror dream will pass, and by God, they’ll do what it takes to make it so. Of course the rest of Congress isn’t innocent. They are perfectly happy to sell their constituents down the river IF the pork comes in at the right price.

Kyda said: it’s an attempt to grab control of that segment of our economy and increased control over our lives. Absolutely, right on!

I would genuinely, like to get a reasoned answer to this question. It’s not one I’ve seen asked, or answered. Because, I sure can’t seem to get one anywhere else.
R. A. Vail I’ve seen it asked over and over on blogs. And, BHO and Kathleen Sebelius actually did answer it (sort of, but not as fully as what follows). They have good health care plans, paid for by none other than their employers, We the People. You only have to go on the “public plan” if your current plan gets changed. The sad part is that We the People cannot change their plan because they voted it for themselves and of course won’t vote to change it.

[...] Why Obama might have just killed Obamacare – James Pethokoukis [...]

There are no red pills. There are no blue pills.

There is only the UNITED PILLS OF AMERICA!!!!

Posted by Vermillion | Report as abusive

When Obama was asked that question, he dodged it by saying he was trying to make the kind of insurance federal employees enjoy available to everyone. While that perhaps is technically true (although federal employees have a wide variety of health insurance choices and also a cafeteria plan–I doubt the general public will have those kinds of choices under ObamaCare), he did not disclose the real reason for the exemption. True, under ObamaCare our private plans will be grandfathered into the system; however, the minute such a plan makes even the smallest change in coverage, co-pays or premiums, the plan will be labeled “new” and therefore non-complying and we will be forced to go elsewhere, probably to the public option. Because of their exemption, the federal plans can change to their hearts’ content and never have to worry about non-compliance. As our choices get fewer and fewer and the quality of our care deteriorates, and we know it will, federal employees will be sitting pretty. They’ll have the Rolls Royce of health care insurance while we’re all stuck in Yugos. (I should disclose that my husband is a retired federal employee. Aren’t I the lucky one.)

Posted by Kyda Sylvester | Report as abusive

“Why is nobody asking the most obvious question: What constitutional provision allows the federal government to force citizens to purchase insurance?
- Posted by Joe ”

Bravo! Exactly.

It is NOT appropriate for the Federal Government to make any efforts whatsoever to make health care affordable for those who lack coverage, nor to provide a “safety net.”

We are NOT our brother’s keeper. The free market will create the lowest possible price for health care products and services, as it does for every other good. But freedom is the only right we have in this area, the freedom to seek medical care and the freedom of some to provide it.

The Feds should help every American by simply GETTING OUT OF THE WAY.

Obama and the Dems health reform plans, are the death knell for our own elderly citizens!

I know LaRaza had a meeting with Sen. Martinez, NJ..they do not want the public knowing just how much input they have.

They said that

1. Latino kids need health care more than white kids..even tho Obama just put illegal’s kids in SCHIP

2. The elderly will have many treatments cut

3. They don’t care about amnesty, if illegals get on this bill.

I believe all this is about illegals and other minorities….so your parents and grandparents will be given one of Obama’s red or blue pills instead of hip surgery so illegals can get perks…even tho we now pay for illegals health care, they also have helped ruin our economy in several areas.

As for parents with mentally challenged kids, who knows what he will do with them!

Mandatory drug testing must be done in DC!

Posted by bobc | Report as abusive

How about this. Give people who don’t get insurance thru their employer a voucher/refundable tax credit if they buy their own insurance. If they don’t spend it all on insurance they get to keep the money. Allow people to buy health insurance nationwide, not just in their own state. Have state insurance pools for pre-existing conditions. Fix what’s broken. Leave the rest alone. Hands off my healthcare.

Posted by John Hauschild | Report as abusive

Please Mr. Obama, I don’t wanna go
Hey, Mr. Obama, please don’t make me go
I had a dream last night about my comin’ medical care
Somebody said “What you’ll get is Dashle Kennedy Care!’”
And there I stood with a rag in my mouth upon which to bite.

Look at them waiting lines there, they’re hardly even movin’
And there’s a bureaucrat at every one
Hey, Mr. Obama, you mind if I be excused the rest of the decade?
HEY MISTER, DUCK YER HEAD!!
(Sound of bureaucrat’s clipboard whizzing by)
Hmm, you’re a little bit late on that one, Mister
Whooh, I bet that smarts!

Please Mr. Obama, I don’t wanna go
Listen, Mr. Obama, please don’t make me go
There’s a bureaucrat a’waitin’ out there, just fixin to decide my fate
A complainer I’ve been called cuz I don’t wanna wind up screamin’ or dead

I wonder what the Kenyan word for friend is
Let’s see-friend– kemo sabe, that’s it!
KEMO SABE!, HEY OUT THERE-KEMO SABE!
Nope, that itn’t it
Look at them durned fascists
They’re runnin’ around like a bunch of wild Mengeles and Kevorkians-heh, heh, heh

Posted by FeralCat | Report as abusive

This was a horrible op-ed, Mr. Pethokoukis.

It read’s more like a conspiracy theory than anything else.

Maybe there was a lone gunman on the grassy knoll.

Maybe the Apollo moon landing was an elaborate Hollywood production.

Maybe Barack Hussein Obama is a citizen of Kenya and not the U.S.A., oh, wait, I take that back. The black-ops team might make a hit on me for saying that.

For every lucid and correct point of observation made, there is a ‘maybe’ line to refute yourself. Are you fearful of something? Fearful of someone perhaps? Afraid the boogeyman is going to pay you a visit while you sleep if you say the wrong thing about our exhalted Barackus Caesar? Or, are you just being a typical al-Reuters writer… if you can’t dazzle em with brave truth, baffle em with bull excrement? Why would you counter-point your own convictions with so many maybe’s, repeatedly, if you’re not afraid of something or someone -whatever that ‘something’ or ‘someone’ may be?

It would have been a great op-ed if you’d have simply stood your ground, stuck to your guns, and said what you clearly wanted to say without the self-defeating plethera of timid maybe’s that makes you look and sound weak, and makes your op-ed completely meaningless.

i’ve live through ten presidents and i can safely say that barack’s awkwardly fumbled attempt to inject racial profiling, by weaving a tale that had nothing to do with racial profiling, into a press conference that did nothing to inform the public about his healthcare proposal, was the strangest thing i’ve witnessed from a chief executive.

Posted by el polacko | Report as abusive

I think it failed. I did not watch it, though, but I did see clips on the news and read about it. Personally, I cannot stomach Obama and cannot stand listening to him. He comes across as smug and arrogant, and the clips I saw of him speaking yesterday… smug and arrogant. He speaks as if his ideas are the one and only right ideas, and I HATE the way that everything with him is so rush, rush, rush!!! (I also think people are getting tired of the way everything he says only stirs up fear… it’s all fear-mongering stuff with him). The stimulus is failing (my entire company’s staff just got laid off because the company is not getting business), the deficit is rising, and I just can’t believe he is pushing this right now! I have paid for my own private insurance for the past year and a half. It’s not the greatest BUT I would rather have it than govt. healthcare. My parents are in their 60′s and I am scared to death that Obama’s plan will pass. I envision the day that they’ll be told they can not have some life-saving something or other because it will be too expensive and they will be viewed as being too old and not important enough for the govt. to spend money on. I hate that this man is our President. I believe he is destroying our nation, and it just seems to get worse and worse with each day.

Posted by Ashby | Report as abusive

And I also thought his comments re: the Gates thing were just bizarre. I mean, during his administration, there have been soldiers killed (like the one murdered in an office here in the U.S.), soldiers kidnapped (like the one currently being held hostage), and so many more horrible things that have happened. The President said NOTHING about these events. And so one random man gets arrested and Obama addresses it?! It’s all because the man was black. No doubt had he been a white man, Obama would’ve said nothing. He only stirs up people’s anger about racism even though he does things that are “reverse racism” (like nominating people based on their ethnicity). I seriously cannot stand this man!

Posted by Ashby | Report as abusive

“I believe all this is about illegals and other minorities….so your parents and grandparents will be given one of Obama’s red or blue pills instead of hip surgery so illegals can get perks…even tho we now pay for illegals health care, they also have helped ruin our economy in several areas.”

YEP!! Obama plays favorites. But then again, what should we expect? We voted for a man based solely on his skin color and “coolness.” Pitiful! But he’s got to somehow payback the people who voted for him. It’s young people (college age) who are the most likely not to have health care. Who voted most for Obama and campaigned for him? College aged people? His health care sure sounds like payback to them and to welfare dependent people, to me. It’s not only payback. He’s buying their future votes. He’s like their Santa Claus. He dupes them into thinking he’s giving them something “free,” and they lobby for his causes and vote for him.

Posted by J.D. | Report as abusive

Why Obama killed healthcare… because he’s a liar and people are starting to realize it. He makes promises that he doesn’t keep. He is driving us into the ground with the trillions he’s wasting. People can read the bill online and many have and Obama outrightly lies and manipulates in order for people to believe that he’s their savior who only has their best interests in mind. Don’t believe him for a minute. This is all about him and his power trip.

Posted by Jen | Report as abusive

All these people who root for Obama no matter what he does, who just believe everything he says and believe that everything he does is charmed, are in for a rude awakening. If they haven’t already caught on to the fact that he is totally inexperienced and clueless, sdds
they will eventually. Might not be until they are dying and their government sponsored health care won’t pay for their chemo. But someday they’ll wake up and see him for who he really is.

Posted by Stanley | Report as abusive

[...] assignment and Al Gore blows more hot air and Meet the retrofit police James Pethokoukis, Reuters: Why Obama might have just killed Obamacare Citizen-Right: Dem Gary Locke Commerce Secretary nominee close ties to campaign finance crook John [...]

GWB’s failure to reform Social Security should be a red flag to anyone promoting yet another government takeover. Conceived as a self-funded plan in the 1930s Social Security was constantly expanded by the politicians to buy votes and influence constituencies afterwards. Now it’s a bloated, near-bankrupt mess desperately in need of reform. However it’s not called the “third rail” of politics w/o reason: Any attempt to correct or stabilize it is met with a chorus of partisan-driven charges against whoever’s trying to fix it. Does anyone think the same thing wouldn’t happen with nationalized health care? With private health care the market drives out inefficiencies, waste, and poor service. Nationalize it and you’ll have Barney Frank declaring the system sound and in no need of reform the day before it collapses, just as he did in the Freddie Mac mortgage fiasco last year.

Posted by Orion | Report as abusive

The facts area: Obama is lying. Listen and watch for yourself. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zZ-6ebku3 _E

Posted by commonsense247 | Report as abusive

Many people believe that Congress has a govt healthcare plan. That’s not true. Their plan is run by the private sector. This is a nightmare waiting to happen.
If Gov’t gets into healthcare just think of all the ways they control what we do. Oh well, you didn’t eat healthy, that ‘s why you are diabetic. Didn’t you follow the Govt plan on a healthy lifestyle. oh you smoke , well that’s just unhealthy Begone!!!No healthcare for you!!! Don’t think it won’t happen. Just listen to Obama’s comments to the women with a 105 yr old mother who received a pace maker. “Maybe a pill would have been better”.

Posted by Bitter Clinger | Report as abusive

I don’t think health-care was ever likely to pass. The democrats may want it, but even they are not that stupid. 70% of Americans are very happy with their healthcare and I doubt a majority of the 30% remaining would be better off with obamacare.

Not to mention that the Mass. plan is an abject failure.

Why should the vast majority of us give up our quality care for the economically disadvantaged? We here in America have a fine tradition of blaming the economically disadvantaged for their own lot. I don’t see that changing with the current marxist in charge.

Posted by justin | Report as abusive

Better yet, take a look at our VA heathcare. A shining example of what is to come. I spoke to one of my peers yesterday whose father is a veteran. He told me it is awful. All the paperwork etc. It takes nearly a yr to get your claims paid. Meanwhile, you are still getting billed. This not mention all the health scares recenting with 10,000 possible hepatitis infections and HIV infections due to unclean practices.

Posted by Bitter Clinger | Report as abusive

We have the BEST healthcare in the world. We don\’t take our children or family to other countries to try to get healthcare. Other people from the world FLOCK here. We are the gold standard in healthcare provided. Our waits are very short and the healthcare provided is excellent. We are at the top of the new innovations and technologies. We lead the way in healthcare.

Posted by Bitter Clinger | Report as abusive

If we are speaking of only 47 million, 12 of which are most likely illegals, that leaves 35 million, Half are out of work and the other half simply opt out of it. So in reality. The best way to fix this issue is to CREATE JOBS!!!! I think maybe some tort reform would be good, but for 18 million people they could have paid for their heathcare for the next 1-2 yrs with 36 billion. We just spent 800 billion on the stimulus bill. How’s that working out for you and another 700 billion bailing out failed companies who still layed off people. If getting healthcare is the issues, they why not just pay for the people who can’t afford it rather than overhauling a system to reduce the quality of care for everyone? This man is dillusional. He wants every one to have the same crappy healthcare. Redistribution. Why not ask Chicago Southside people how they like the hospital Michelle worked at. They are being investigated for “Patient Dumping” which is illegal.

Posted by Bitter Clinger | Report as abusive

With many drugs, they work for some people, but not for others.

When I was being treated for high blood pressure, my doctor started me on one pill. Then he tried a different pill, then he tried several combinations of pills, until he found a combination that kept my blood pressure under control with no unacceptable side affects.

People are different, and they react to drugs differently. Declaring that only the most inexpensive drug for any condition will be permitted, will condemn millions to a life with no effective treatments.

Posted by MarkW | Report as abusive

Obama’s comment about the Gates arrest was a calculated effort to divert attention from further analysis of his “Healthcare Reform”. Guys, PLEASE WAKE UP! This bill is NOT about healthcare and it’s NOT about helping people. It is an attempt to expand government and takeover a significant portion of the US economy. Obama doesn’t want the details to be known. He is being deliberately vague. If this passes, government will be involved in every aspect of your life. Government will determine where doctors will practice medicine, who will get into medical school, and whether you are too ‘old’ to get treatment for an ailment. There will be more ‘end of life counseling’ according to those who have read both House and Senate bills. If Obama truly wanted healthcare reform, he would clean up Medicare and Medicaid fraud first— fraud is rampant in both of these programs as we all know, and insist on tort reform! Contrary to what Mr. Obama claims, healthcare is not broken. 90% of the people in this country have health care. Changes need to be made but the REAL AGENDA here has more to do with expanding the role of government in our lives and tearing down the free market system–REGARDLESS OF THE COST. It’s about implementing his ideology for a new America. I do believe if he is successful in putting all of the intended pieces in place, you won’t even recognize this country anymore.

Posted by Sandy Cove | Report as abusive

No, the problem is that he told us we needed his/Pelosi’s/Reid’s stimulus package RIGHT NOW RIGHT NOW RIGHT NOW RIGHT NOW RIGHT NOW RIGHT NOW RIGHT NOW or we’d all DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE.

CAN’T TAKE A FEW DAYS TO READ AND DISCUSS IT.

NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO.

That turned out to be, uh, WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG.

No one with any sense trusts his judgment any more on econOmic matters, and rightly so.

Posted by Chester White | Report as abusive

[...] comment by katablog.com (James Pethokoukis, Reuters Blogs, Why Obama might have just killed Obamacare, July 23, [...]

Awake: Interesting theory about Gov. Romney suffering because of the slow motion failure of his health care plan, but I think there’s limits to that.

Since it’s similar enough to the schemes the national Democrats have for destroying private insurance and putting us all into a single payer system, the MSM and Democrats can’t pound him on this without also damaging the best path to single payer.

More likely it will be used by other Republicans in the nomination season.

Posted by Harold | Report as abusive

I had the exact same sentiments about the MSM headlines all being about Obama taking on the police. I knew that if all the networks that carry Obama’s water could only come away with that as there main story then everything Obama said about health care was a bust. That means even they couldn’t come up with any of substance to support his talking points.

I think the MSM failed to realize, though, how much Obama’s comment about Skippy vs. the police defies any notion of a post-racial society. Too many of his appointments and comments are showing that he is in fact in the middle of any perceived divide, not above it.

Posted by Josh Reiter | Report as abusive

[...] is not yours to make. You'll get what the government decides it will pay for, and no more. James Pethokoukis puts it this way (via Instapundit): Although Obama said any bill he signs would “keep [...]

Does anyone notice the similarity with the rush rush “Lets do it now” manner of Barack Obama and a good used car salesman? They both know that if you have time to think about the deal they are proposing, that you won’t do the deal. Same goes for his National Health Care proposal. Fisrs of all, hardly anybody, from the Senate to the Congress to the President himself has read the proposal. He said it is still being revised. So if that’s the case, why rush approval if it is not done?
The car salesman would say,”The car you are buying still needs two front wheels(On order) and a steering wheel, but please sign here on the dotted line.

I was able to see the future when Obama was first introduced to the public back when Bush ran against Al Gore or against Kerry. I forget which election. Obama was touted back then as a rising Democratic star. I knew then he was bad news for this country. Unfortunately, I was right.

Posted by georgewobama | Report as abusive

I’ve noticed that a number of people have jumped at the chance here to spread more Republican propaganda. And propaganda it is: ther is nothing sinister about government-administered health-care—government is not sinister unless it is oppressive like fascism or like the distorted form of communism we saw develop in Russia and China.
Those opposed to Obama continue to distort also: they choose to ignore the Canadian and European models of post-war government health-care because they fervently support HEALTH-CARE AS A PROFITABLE BUSINESS. That is the sum total of their argument but they won’t say so directly. Health for profit is not only inefficient, it is immoral on its face. Obama won’t use this kind of direct language because this issue can’t be discussed outside of the politicized climate the Republicans have created; it would be counterproductive because this country has been hammered by Republican propaganda for generations and too many people have developed a naive notion that taxes should not pay for doctors and hospitals while it is OK to raise taxes for sewer systems and highways (as well as war).

Posted by michel merle | Report as abusive

The present form of Health Care proposed by the Obama administration contains regulations that state when a person reaches sixty-five or older, rather then be given adequate health care, they will be consuled on why they would be better off not accepting any further medical help. Instead they will be advised to accept letting nature take it’s course and to die peacully without being a burden to the health care system. If that is not sinister, I don’t know what is.

Posted by gwobama | Report as abusive

[...] grasp of economics. Climate Skeptic: Warm Weather and Prosperity James Pethokoukis, Reuters: Why Obama might have just killed Obamacare Citizen-Right: Dem Gary Locke Commerce Secretary nominee close ties to campaign finance crook John [...]

[...] grasp of economics. Climate Skeptic: Warm Weather and Prosperity James Pethokoukis, Reuters: Why Obama might have just killed Obamacare The Patriot’s Mind: Is America Waking Up? – Global Warming is a Hoax? and EPA Suppressed Own [...]