Wednesday, September 9, 2009
What Will The President Propose Tonight?
Will health reform support grow after Obama's speech?
President Obama's speech before a joint session of Congress tonight is designed to express the urgency of passing health reform - and is a last ditch effort to save a much maligned and confusing proposal. But what will he say?
Will the public option still be on the table? Or will the president be content to at least get some kind of health reform passed, even if he has to forgo a public health plan?
If he does that, does he risk alienating the progressives in his party - and sinking the plan altogether?
Yesterday he met with Democratic leaders at the White House to prepare them for today's speech. But those leaders were flustered when they were asked by a reporter from Bloomberg why no Republicans were invited to the confab.
Of course, the president's problems in getting health reform passed lie not with the GOP but with his own fragmented party. Because, in addition to the progressives on the left pulling in one direction for a public option, the blue dogs on the right are pulling in the opposite direction.
The proposal may include a requirement that all Americans have health care. So, imagine this. You are working at a minimum wage job - one that keeps you above the poverty level and disqualifies you from receiving welfare. But one that does not provide health benefits.
If there's no public option, how are you supposed to pay for health insurance?
You can continue, as you have, making do without. But, get this. If you're caught without health insurance - you could be fined $3,800.
So you're leaving your minimum wage job and you're driving home from work and you get in an accident. The ambulance comes but you resist going to the hospital. Because once you're there, you're in the system. And the government now knows you're uninsured. Which means you're going to be fined $3,8000. And with your job, you just have enough money to pay the rent, buy food and maybe go to the movies once in awhile.
It's not like the requirement that you need insurance to drive a car. If you can't afford car insurance, you can opt to walk or, if you're lucky, take public transportation. But with this proposed requirement - there is no option. Not without a public option.
Despite the fact that there are two bills out there and there's been so much discourse, I have to admit that all that I have written today is just speculation. We really don't know what the president will say and what, if any, bill will ultimately pass Congress.
I guess we'll get a better sense of this all at 8 PM New York time tonight when he speaks. Be sure to join us on News Talk Online on Paltalk.com when he does. It'll be your opportunity to sound off.
Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/seiuhealthcare775nw/3584422227/