The Truth Will Out on Health Care
posted at 8:59 am on September 10, 2009 by Howard Portnoy
It is the morning after, and the opposing camps are already massing once again, squaring off for the next battle. Which I am guessing will be over South Carolina Rep. Joe Wilson’s calling out “You lie!” when the president said illegal aliens won’t be covered. And this, in a speech where Obama called for civility. (Obama also intimated in the speech that people opposed to his plan were playing “games,” took another cheap shot at his predecessor, and said not to “pay attention to . . . scary stories” and then told one hell of a campfire hair-raiser, but that’s just Barack being Barack. When he says to “be civil,” he means you.)
As for Wilson’s impulsive moment, he probably should have exercised more self-control. I shouted worse things at my TV during this infuriating hour of snake-oil salesmanship, as I’m sure many viewers did, but my remarks were not heard in the halls of Congress.
But in Wilson’s defense I submit that sometimes the truth will just out. And the truth is becoming more and more of a stranger to the man who professes to have the country’s best interests at heart.
Only the most partisan liberal hacks — the E. J. Dionnes and Eugene Robinsons — will argue that Obama said anything meaningful or debate-changing last night. Even the Associated Press, normally no enemy to the liberal cause, can’t bring itself this morning to endorse the false bill of goods Obama waspeddling in the speech. In one of its fact checks, this one subtitled “Obama uses iffy math on deficit pledge,” the AP takes the president to task on a number of his claims, including his assertion that—
- the plan will not add a dime to the deficit. (Truth: It will add $220 billion over 10 years, as the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has noted.)
- nothing in this plan will require you or your employer to change coverage. (Truth: The CBO notes that by 2016, some 3 million people who now have employer-based care would lose it because their employers would decide to stop offering it.)
- forcing insurance companies to cover preventive care will lower costs. (Truth: The CBO wrote in August: “The evidence suggests that for most preventive services, expanded utilization leads to higher, not lower, medical spending overall.)
As to Obama’s call for civility, this coming Saturday — 9/12 — tens of thousands of demonstrators plan to march on Washington to let the president know exactly what they think of, among other things, his plan to reform health care. If enough people turn out, it will be impossible for the White House to ignore. Let’s see how much we count on Obama to behave civilly in reacting to the heart-felt concerns of these people who have come to have their voices heard.
Cross-posted at Zombie Contentions