Regular readers (hi Mom!) will recall that last fall I took to live-blogging the presidential debates. The election put an end to that brand of fun. But as I started thinking about President Obama's address to Congress, I thought it might be fun to live-blog the madness.
Our helpful assistant blogger is my 9 year old son. And before you doubt his credentials, I want you to think about the behavior of the Republicans in Congress.
In comparison, the kid looks incredibly serious and well-qualified.
I'll start by disclosing my bias: I want universal, single-payer healthcare. I am completely aware that is not going to happen in this round of reforms, if ever. I'll settle for a public option plan to compete with private insurers; some sort of serious effort to control costs; and a real commitment to real universal coverage: insurance for every person in this nation.
And yes, I know that's probably unrealistic. The sins of the national news media not withstanding, the Obama Administration handled August badly. I want the president to get Congress back on track and provide some leadership on the issue, explaining to the nation why we must reform our health care system and offering some serious proposals to help make it happen.
The first issue: whose coverage to view? I'm going with MSNBC because I like Brian Williams, David Gregory and Rachel Maddow. But if they let Keith Olberman talk........I'm gone. He's a monstrosity.
Just saw John Boehner. I hope to hell that he keeps up with his insurance premiums because that kind of suntan has skin cancer written all over it.
MSNBC is letting Olberman serve as our narrator. I'm off to CNN. Wolf Blizter. Gah. JT just explained to the cats: we don't like this guy either but he's better than that other dude. Michelle Obama wearing sleeves tonight.
CNN opting to show the Clinton speech from 1992...teleprompter trouble that year. And no reform that year either....coincidence?
The man of the hour turns up. JT's only question: Will he shake his wife's hand? Wife looks pissed off that he didn't shake her hand. Uh oh.
Caught sight of Senator Tim Johnson from SD who knows his way around the healthcare system as a result of a recent serious illness. Interesting to hear what he and his staff have to say about reform.
The economy blah blah blah getting better blah blah blah still need to help folks looking for jobs blah blah blah.
JT: I thought this was supposed to be about healthcare.
Exactly. Let's get to it, Mr. President.
Props to Representative John Dingell and an Obama vow to be the last president to propose healthcare reform. Starting strong.
Obama: "we are the only advanced democracy who allows such hardship for its citizens." Amen.
JT: "Insurance companies let people die? That's bad." From the mouths of babes.
Congress is getting strokes so far...."you've worked hard." Okay, but I want some heads to roll.....and Obama just said, "The time for bickering is over....we must show the American people that we will do what we were sent here to do." That's more like it.
1. Security and stability for those who have insurance.
2. Insurance for those who need it.
3. Cost control.
I'm in. Tell me more.
Insurance marketplace exchange idea is interesting, I guess. But it's not really going to solve our problems and he knows it. We need more than a marketplace. Plus....4 years? Dude, that's not soon enough.
He's gonna require everyone to get care with a hardship waiver for low income folks and small businesses.....okay, but I'm not convinced that will do the trick and it's costly. Massachusetts has been bleeding cash to make that happen.
And now he takes on the myths......first up death panels. He's talking to you Sarah Palin; says "It's a lie. Plain and simple." Congress cheers.
Says no coverage for folks who are here illegally. I don't approve, because I am compassionate that way.
And a member of Congress just yelled back at the president. Did he call him a liar? Nancy Pelosi is not amused. My 9 year old is shocked.
Update: Yes, Representative Joe Wilson of South Carolina did call the president a liar.
He's pointing out that the big 5 insurance companies need more competition and must be held accountable. That sort of language makes the GOP happy. And for now, I'll live with it. Because he just said that he wants a public option to be in the marketplace.
Yes. By God, yes.
Obama promises to protect Medicare. GOP sits on their hands.
He notes that defensive medicine contributes to rising costs; mentions malpractice reform but doesn't commit.
Obama says the costs of reform will be less than the tax cuts for the rich passed by the last Administration. Looking at you, George W. Ouch.
Obama says his door is open for those with new ideas. But he won't stand by and endure those who misrepresent the plan; those who want to get in the way of reform. Says, "Know this: I will not waste time with those who have made the calculation that it’s better politics to kill this plan than improve it." Says he will call out the deceivers...strong language.
I hope to hell that he means it.
Closing with Teddy Kennedy, calling health care "a moral issue" about "social justice" and "the character of our country." Says Teddy was driven by "something more" "a passion born of his own experience" and Kennedy's concern about those who didn't have health care, a feeling that isn't partisan. I'm sold.
The final words were emotional: "we did not come here to fear the future. We can meet history's test."
It was an impressive appeal to take some action for the common good. Let's hope that we can rise to the challenge.