Obama’s Speech Fails To Move Health Care Holdouts

One Washington Post reporter spent yesterday evening watching the President’s speech with a group of voters in Northern Virginia:

The doctors and the patients they treat at a community hospital in Stafford, in Northern Virginia’s exurban frontier, agreed with President Obama’s assertions Wednesday that the national health-care system is broken, and most agreed that all Americans should be covered.

But even as Obama presented his ambitious health-care reform agenda in his clearest and most urgent terms yet, he failed to win over some people who for months have opposed progressive elements of his reform plan or who have been uneasy or plain confused about others.

“We do need something,” David Varrelman, a longtime police officer, said from his hospital bed as he recovered from gall bladder surgery. “But they’ve got to come up with something that’s going to be paid for and that’s not government-controlled.”

Earlier in the day, Varrelman, 77, said he could support Obama’s efforts if the president made some bipartisan compromises, such as abandoning his proposal for a government-run insurance option. Varrelman likened the public option to “a camel with his nose in the tent. If you let the camel’s nose in, before you know it, the whole camel’s in the tent, the whole [health-care system] will be government-controlled.”

And that guy isn’t alone:

CBO: Senate legislation costs “more than $1 trillion,” would add $645 billion to deficit

A day after President Barack Obama delivered his address to Congress promising a deficit neutral bill, the Congressional Budget Office is out with a preliminary score on health care legisation being considered by the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) that doesn’t help Democrats:

Our preliminary assessment was that the provisions of the legislation pertaining to insurance coverage would increase federal deficits by $645 billion over the 2010–2019 period—so such a Medicaid expansion would probably bring the total federal cost to more than $1 trillion. Adding a Medicaid expansion to the legislation would also yield a substantially larger reduction in the number of people who are uninsured, because about half of the people projected to be uninsured under current law would have income below 150 percent of the FPL.

The CBO also points out that the fines employers would have to pay if they don’t offer health coverage “would generally pass that cost on to their workers, primarily in the form of lower wages—just as firms that contribute toward health insurance today pay lower wages than they otherwise would, keeping their total compensation costs about the same.”

While the amount spent by Americans as a percentage of GDP is often cited by proponents of ObamaCare, the CBO notes that a “public option” would “could cause national spending on health care to increase by between 2 percent and 5 percent.”

Fact-checking Obama

As you can imagine, there are some issues with some of what President Barack Obama proposed in his speech last night.

A few of the most glaring issues were picked up by the AP. The first being the president’s claim of a deficit neutral bill:

OBAMA: “I will not sign a plan that adds one dime to our deficits either now or in the future. Period.”

THE FACTS: Though there’s no final plan yet, the White House and congressional Democrats already have shown they’re ready to skirt the no-new-deficits pledge.

House Democrats offered a bill that the Congressional Budget Office said would add $220 billion to the deficit over 10 years. But Democrats and Obama administration officials claimed the bill actually was deficit-neutral. They said they simply didn’t have to count $245 billion of it — the cost of adjusting Medicare reimbursement rates so physicians don’t face big annual pay cuts.

Their reasoning was that they already had decided to exempt this “doc fix” from congressional rules that require new programs to be paid for. In other words, it doesn’t have to be paid for because they decided it doesn’t have to be paid for.

The administration also said that since Obama already had included the doctor payment in his 10-year budget proposal, it didn’t have to be counted again.

That aside, the long-term prognosis for costs of the health care legislation has not been good.

CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf had this to say in July: “We do not see the sort of fundamental changes that would be necessary to reduce the trajectory of federal health spending by a significant amount.”

Yes, Democrats Have Acted Like Boorish Idiots During A Presidential Address Too

While it hardly excuses Joe Wilson’s behavior, it’s worth noting that Democrats haven’t example been examples of propriety during Presidential addresses either:

CNN snap poll oversamples Democrats

You may be hearing about a snap poll from CNN taken right after President Obama’s speech last night that shows a gain in support for his health care proposal, from 53% to 67% in favor.

While it is true that the president picked up support in the poll, what you won’t hear is how that poll oversampled Democratic voters by a wide margin:

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted just before and just after the president’s speech, with 427 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey’s sampling error is plus or minus 5 percentage points.

The sample of speech-watchers in this poll was 45 percent Democratic and 18 percent Republican. Our best estimate of the number of Democrats in the voting age population as a whole indicates that the sample is about 8-10 points more Democratic than the population as a whole.

I’ve heard this poll referenced several times already by the media. No one is mentioning the oversample of Democrats.

Democrat Healthcare Organizational Chart

I’d try to add commentary on this, but I can’t follow it well enough to do so.

ObamaCare Chart

Rep. John Wilson (R-SC) calls Obama a liar during speech

During President Barack Obama’s speech, you have may have heard a member of Congress shout “that’s a lie” or “you lie” when the president tried to dispell a myth that illegal immigrants would be covered under health reform.

The culprit is Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) and it turns out he was right to call out Obama on this particular claim.

Live-Blog: Obama’s health care pitch to Congress

We’ll be live-blogging President Barack Obama’s speech to a joint session of Congress this evening, beginning at 7:45pm. We hope you’ll join us.

23 Democrats against ObamaCare, others on the fence

Congress has only been back in session for a day and 23 Democrats have said they will vote against ObamaCare when, and if, it comes to the floor:

At least 23 House Democrats already have told constituents or hometown media that they oppose the massive healthcare overhaul touted by President Barack Obama.

If Republicans offer the blanket opposition they’ve promised, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) can afford to lose only 38 members of her 256-member caucus and still pass the bill.

Most Democrats opposed to healthcare reform argue it costs too much, imposes a new tax and fines businesses that don’t provide insurance to employees. Some fear that the bill would subsidize abortion.

Many other Democratic members, including those berated by protesters at raucous town hall meetings in August, are still undecided.

This somewhat counters Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Sen. Harry Reid(D-NV), who say they have the votes for ObamaCare. If they had the votes, this debate would be over and the president wouldn’t be speaking to a joint session of Congress this evening.

If 15 or more Democrats break against the bill, assuming no Republicans vote for it, it will effectively kill ObamaCare. However, if a bill without a public option comes to the floor, some 60 Democrats have pledged to vote against it. So, Democrats are really caught between a rock and a hard place.

You Want An Alternative Health Care Reform Plan? Here It Is, Mr. President

Yesterday at the AFL-CIO picnic in Cincinnati, President Obama issued a challenge:

CINCINNATI, Sept. 7 — President Obama attempted to reinvigorate support for his struggling health-care agenda on Monday by giving a stirring, campaign-style speech to thousands of union members celebrating Labor Day.

After a turbulent summer, during which opponents seized control of the health-care debate and liberals criticized the president as not pushing forcefully enough for reform, Obama stepped back into the fray, shirt sleeves rolled up, with an emphatic defense of his policies and his young presidency.

“I’ve got a question for all these folks who say, you know, we’re going to pull the plug on Grandma, and this is all about illegal immigrants — you’ve heard all the lies,” Obama said, diverging from his prepared remarks. “I’ve got a question for all those folks: What are you going to do? What’s your answer? What’s your solution?

“And you know what? They don’t have one,” he sai

Actually, Mr. President, as Michael Cannon at the Cato Institute notes, yes we do:

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