Thoughts on last nights Presidential healthcare reform speech

The president’s speech has changed nothing.

President Obama changed nothing about his plan. His speech did not move Congress any closer to reforms that would put patients first. Instead, he vowed to “call out” people he deems as “misrepresenting” his plan.
The American people have called out the president and congressional leaders for trying to force their version of health care reform on a public that doesn’t want it. That’s what the overwhelming response was at those town hall meetings and rallies over the last two months.

Accusing his critics of “scare tactics,” he told the American people that if we don’t get behind his plan – which he calls doing “nothing” – “more will die as a result.”

He finally acknowledged the need for medical liability lawsuit reform, but instead of vowing to push for it in health care legislation, he said he would put Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services, in charge of that. Interesting choice, since Sebelius used to be a lobbyist for trial lawyers.

Americans are tired of hearing doublespeak from the president. In the same speech, he declared he doesn’t want “to defer reform one more year, or one more election, or one more term.” But that was right after telling us his plan for the federally regulated health insurance exchange “will take effect in four years.”

Tonight’s speech rehashed the same plan – including a public, government-controlled health insurance plan; a new federal definition of acceptable health insurance; an individual mandate that everyone purchase that insurance or face a tax; and an employer mandate increasing the burden on the engine of jobs. The president mocked the concerns of Americans who don’t want to see these job-killing, tax-raising policies enacted.

The president said his “door is always open” to discuss alternatives to his plan. So far, however, we have seen little consideration given to the types of reforms we support – such as buying health insurance across state lines, tax credits for Americans of all incomes, and real tort reform. These are real reforms that would work for real people.

Unfortunately, Wednesday’s speech promised more things Washington can’t deliver with its current proposals – promising everyone can keep their current health plan and that reform as Obama imagines it would not add to our deficit. If the president and Congress continue on the course they have charted, these promises will be broken in short order.

Please spread the word and recruit others to the cause of real reform. Ask five friends to sign the Patients First petition right now by clicking here. Thank you again for standing with us.

Sincerely,

Amy Menefee
Patients First, a Project of Americans for Prosperity

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