Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Daily Strike-7/1/09-Another Town Hall

Good evening and welcome to the Daily Strike. I must take care of some administrative items to take care of before we get to the day in politics. Tomorrow, Lady Strike and I head to my hometown of San Francisco, CA for the July 4th holiday. Tomorrow's entry will be pretty late at night after I arrive. I plan on writing entries as normal through Monday morning, but will not write Daily Strikes Monday through Wednesday nights when I'm in Lake Tahoe. Hopefully, the Big Picture can fill in a bit. As always, make sure you leave us lots of comments.

HEALTH CARE TOWN HALL: The President held another town hall meeting on health care today, this time at a Northern Virginia community college. He seems to be on a pattern of holding a health care related event every week, which still seems to me not quite enough to win passage of such a comprehensive bill. Nevertheless, the President always puts on a good performance in these settings, and today was no exception. The most moving part of the event came when sobbing woman told the President that she had a tumor caused by radiation that should could not pay for. The woman, named Debby, couldn't work, and therefore had lost her health insurance, and did not have enough money out of pocket to pay for tests, let alone procedures. The President showed some emotion, giving the woman a hug and saying he would do what he could to help her. I'm always glad to see the President not solely discuss the issue in the scope of numbers and figures, but to highlight how the current system makes people suffer.

The one answer I did not like came in response to a question about taxing health benefits. The President launched into a long wonkish answer, explaining the current system, proposals being floated around in Congress, John McCain's proposal from last year's campaign etc. He finally got around to answering the question, and while taxing benefits is not his preferred choice of financing the bill, he is not ruling anything out. I personally think it would be a brutal mistake to start taxing employer health benefits. The worst thing for the plan politically would be to take things away from people. Making health care taxable would cause some employers to stop giving insurance to their employees. Even if it would make good policy sense, it would make the plan politically unsustainable.

The weirdest part of the hearing was when he answered a question about medical liability reform. It turns out that the question came from Republican Congressman Michael Burgess (TX), a longtime proponent of malpractice reform. The White House chose the question from those submitted via the Internet, but Burgess did not identify himself as a member of Congress.

I'll look for Obama to do another one of these again next week. He has to keep the pressure on, especially considering that he's dealing with people like Joe Lieberman. Senator Lieberman today said that he opposed the public insurance option because it "costs too much." Ignore the fact that the public option would actually significantly decrease the cost of reform, since it will not have to bear the burden of administrative costs. Joe Lieberman said in 2006, numerous times, that he was FOR universal health care. He even gave a statement expressing explicit support for the public option. Mr. Lieberman has no principles whatsoever. He is a very insecure man who gets a high from compromising with his Republican colleagues. He really needs to be liked by them, apparently. If you live in Connecticut, get on the phone and call his office.

That's pretty much it for today, we'll see you tomorrow!

No comments:

Post a Comment