This was the sentence that jumped at me

“My guiding principle is, and always has been, that consumers do better when there is choice and competition”

Oh, what vision! he’s an honest to God CEO! Suddenly, we’re not people,  who can get sick and die, but consumers. And for some reason, when we’re sick and need care we need  …competition? Wait, that’s not our need, but allegedly the need of the insurance companies, the real beneficiaries of this boondoggle.

Back in the 80 Mario Cuomo was debating – during the gubernatorial rave – opponents who boasted their CEO experience. he then explained very eloquently why governing had nothing to do with business. The motivation he said, cannot be turning a profit, and there are people who need your help.

Well, in this universe, there are insurance companies who fronted a President and are getting helped.

They will get a captive market:

That’s why under my plan, individuals will be required to carry basic health insurance – just as most states require you to carry auto insurance.

This time, sick people are compared to drivers and health insurance to liability insurance. The problem with this simile is that well, people can walk or use public transportation.

Considering that nowhere did I hear about capping the premiums in this corporate bill, that is tantamount to giving insurance companies access to your bank account, or if you lack one, the Treasury.

Can you spell “tax payer funded bailout of insurance companies?”

he even tried to make us all see their plight:

Insurance executives don’t do this because they are bad people. They do it because it’s profitable.

and reaffirmed his allegiance

Now, I have no interest in putting insurance companies out of business. They provide a legitimate service, and employ a lot of our friends and neighbors. I just want to hold them accountable.

Accountable how? Again, no cap on premiums.

Apologetically he explained

by making a not-for-profit public option available in the insurance exchange. Let me be clear – it would only be an option for those who don’t have insurance.

oh, noes! Not for profit option! That’s harsh on the poor battered market which needs ALL our money.

Funny to how “I won’t sign a bill without a public option” became “I won’t sign a bill that will add one dime to our deficits”(how brave)

But it’s OK, as he ‘splained it to the B0bots

To my progressive friends, I would remind you that for decades, the driving idea behind reform has been to end insurance company abuses and make coverage affordable for those without it. The public option is only a means to that end – and we should remain open to other ideas that accomplish our ultimate goal.(such as Insurance companies ideas)

And then, to his Republican friends he threw the tort reform bone and the rationale is just dandy

I know that the Bush Administration considered authorizing demonstration projects in individual states to test these issues. It’s a good idea, and I am directing my Secretary of Health and Human Services to move forward on this initiative today.

That W and his good ideas! I mean if we are consumers, it’s not like we need any legal protection to our consumer rights! That would interfere with the all important goal of “competition” – that overrides life and death. And common sense.

And there you have it. The naked reading of the best speech evah. Now I’ll see what others made of it.


From NPR’s selection of comments

Paul begala is calling Obama on the hypocritical attacks on Hillary during the campaign:

Barack Obama attacked Hillary in the primaries for her support of a universal mandate. Now he supports one. While his white paper on health care did call for a public option, I can’t recall a time the words ‘public option’ crossed his lips in the campaign.”

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And WSJ makes a good point

The main message of his speech to Congress is that he is doubling down on his health-care bets and counting on the sheer inertia of Democratic and health industry self-interest in Washington to drive a bill into law.”.

I especially find it interesting that it’s WSJ noting that the bill reflects the interests of the “health industry” (insurers and pharma) – and it will be their job to spend money and advertise it/get the media to propagandize it – as investment in unlimited profits to come.

Also, surprisingly, AP has a fact check

Denis Kuchinich on the “demise of the public interest”

Oh, and Alan Fournier at AP uses the opportunity to gripe about arrogant Clinton (half of his article) who had the temerity to demand

“If you send me legislation that does not guarantee every American private health insurance that can never be taken away, you will force me to take this pen, veto the legislation, and we’ll come right back here and start all over again.”

Thank God we have now Obama who is making nice to the right people – his donors.

Update: Bush’s conscience rule stays:

And one more misunderstanding I want to clear up – under our plan, no federal dollars will be used to fund abortions, and federal conscience laws will remain in place.”