Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Speech

I must confess that I missed most of it. I got home from work last night and fell asleep. I woke up just in time to see the end of the speech. I missed the Republican heckling that's all over the news this morning. From what I saw on the BBC video, it was no worse than what the Prime Minister gets in the British Parliament every week. But, teevee always loves a freak show.
The BBC has the full text of the speech, but so far the NY Times does not, while giving us video of the full Republican response.

Paul Krugman is hopeful but cautious about the speech.

Digby seems fairly impressed by the speech.

I've read it and it's a good speech. We'll see if he follows through with it and takes back the initiative instead of leaving it to the freaks and the crooks like he did last month.

Credit where credit is due. I'll support the President on this plan because it's probably the best we could get in the current political circumstances. It can always be improved on later. The insurance industry regulation that he proposes is long overdue, and would itself relieve the hardships of millions of people. That would be a major breakthrough, perhaps the biggest since the creation of Medicare.

I think it was a very conservative speech. Health insurance reform is a "radical" issue only in this country in the context of politics dominated by a corporate oligarchy serviced by a mandarin class of media and Washington "insiders" (what the progressive bloggers call "Villagers"). Only in this country is public health bound up with ideological politics. Everywhere else it's a straightforward matter of basic national welfare and public safety (no one mentions that a huge population with little to no access to basic care is an enormous public health risk).
The President skillfully navigated the complicated ideological channels of this debate to propose a solution that is complex, but could work. Instead of challenging those ideological constraints with a much simpler plan (like making Medicare available to everyone), he chose to work within those constraints toward something that may or may not achieve the same end.
It might work. Some of the ideas are actually rather bold like the stop-gap measure to provide temporary coverage for the un and underinsured until the permanent programs for them gets up and running. My inner socialist does not like the whole business of different solutions for different income levels, and the means testing that inevitably comes with them. Such solutions, as far as I'm concerned, are engraved invitations for stigma, humiliation, and resentment. I wave my red flag on the barricade and say "Everyone pays and everyone benefits." If you can afford something better, then fine. If you can't, then you don't deserved to be punished for it (we already have a very successful program that is fully socialist; it's called Medicare).    A government program paid for by everyone should be available to everyone.

I give the President a "B."

No comments: