Obama to Rally Public Support ... How?

A mostly political weblog.
July 20 2009 4:06 AM

Obama to Rally Public Support ... How?

Walter Cronkite raced Volvos ?    2:10 A.M.

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So this is what health insurance reform will mean for the average American. It will mean lower costs, more choices and coverage you can count on . It will save you and your family money.

You won't have to worry about being priced out of the market. You won't have to worry about one illness leading to your family going into financial ruin.

Americans will have coverage that finally has stability and security , and Americans who don't have health insurance will finally have affordable quality options. 

I haven't followed Obama's health care remarks closely, but this seems like a significant improvement (for reasons suggested here ). Now if he'd just drop the Orszag talk about "bending the cost curve" we'd be getting places. ... Compare: Obama's highly Orszagged, cost-control-obsessed address at a Green Bay town hall in June . ...

P.S.--Kick Orszag Down the Road? When Obama did talk about "bending the cost curve" in the long run he said:

The bill I sign will also include my commitment and the commitment of Congress to slow the growth of health care costs over the long run.

This is a separate issue . And I just want to be clear. There's an issue of how do we pay for health care reform immediately, in a way that's deficit neutral, but how do we also bend the cost curve so that we're not seeing huge health care inflation over the long-term ...

Our proposal would change incentives so that providers will give patients the best care, not just the most expensive care, which will mean big savings over time.

This is what we mean when we say that we need delivery system reform. I've proposed to Congress, and I am actually confident that they may adopt these proposals,..

Am I crazy to think, by making it clear that long-term curve bending is "a separate issue," Obama's setting it up as a separate issue that could be addressed later ? That may not be what seems to be happening now-- Obama's curve-bending proposal for an "independent panel" to set Medicare practices is said to be key to getting the votes of conservative Dems .  But once the curve-bending issue is distinguished, it can be treated distinctly-- and it would be in keeping with a time-honored Washington tradition to put off the pain (while registering a "commitment"). This impression is reinforced by the uncertain language Obama uses to describe his long-term curve-related changes--he says Congress "may" adopt his proposals--which contrasts with the train-is-leaving-the-station certainty on the immediate package of deficit-neutral but non-curve-bending reforms ("We are going to get this done. ... It will happen this year.") ... Obama specifically did not say what Marc Ambinder says he said --that "he wouldn't sign a health care reform bill into law unless it bended health care cost curve downward."  

But maybe I'm giving the speech a wishful reading. Can't De-Orszag this initiative fast enough for me. ...

Backfill: Atlantic 's Clive Crook also suspects Orszag's long-term cost controls are about to be put in a box and sent on a long voyage to nowhere . From Crook's Friday comment :

One thing that surprised me about Obama's statement today was that he continues to emphasize cost control, as opposed to wider access, as the principal driver of reform. It is obvious by now that Congress has no stomach at all for cost control, and is arguing mainly over how to raise the taxes necessary to pay for wider coverage. Obama's selling proposition, so to speak, is therefore beside the point ....

Moreover, Crook wonders:

What would be so wrong with saying we must have health reform to address economic insecurity--note this is not just about the 40m uninsured; people with insurance are worried about losing it--and that the price in higher taxes is worth paying. It happens to be true, after all. That should count for something. Is it really so hopeless a platform?

Wasn't this the right platform all along ? I would add that when you are wondering who is going to pay for your treatment if you get sick, your insecurity is more than economic . [ via Dish ]... 2:08 A.M.

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Closer? Obama's about to begin a campaign-style attempt to sell health care reform :

Senior White House aides promise "an aggressive public and private schedule" for Obama as he presses his case for reform, including a prime-time news conference on Wednesday, a trip to Cleveland, and heavy use of Internet video to broadcast his message beyond the reach of the traditional media.

Hmm. When was the last time a President's campaign-style attempt to sell a policy has actually succeeded in selling the policy? I can't remember it. I can remember lots of flops (e.g.,Bush on Social Security). Traditional trips to non-Beltway places like Cleveland get heavily filtered by the media, for example. Prime time news conferences don't get huge ratings, right?. The only thing I can think of that might have a momentum-changing effect is a roadblocked prime-time presidential address. ..."Internet video"? I don't think so. ... 2:07 A.M.

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