President's Presser Is Deja Vu Clinton

Running up against his own deadline for congressional action, President Obama took to the air last night to try to revive his nationalization of health care.

There have been too few comparisons between President Obama and President Clinton, but their press conferences seem all too similar. After a long winded answer everyone is left wondering, sounds good, but what did he say?

Throughout the press conference Obama kept referring to people getting health care. In America, people have access to health care — the question is at what cost. There’s a cost problem, not health care crisis.

At a town hall meeting, Robert Broadus of Clinton, Md., asked Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) if he would be forced to buy health insurance or pay a $2500 fine if the House plan is passed. Broadus went on to say he had made the decision to self insure due to the economic downturn and to pay his own way without health insurance. Cardin went into a long explanation culminating in the assumption if Mr. Broadus was in a car accident and ended up in the emergency room, his costs would be shifted to the taxpayer and that is why he should pay an annual fine to the government.

When Broadus was asked about it later, he said he was a responsible adult and would pay his own way. Has the senator ever heard of making payments? Have we gotten so far down the road of the third-party payer system that government officials can’t understand the concept of paying your own way?

American physicians — real, practicing doctors — are being left out of the legislative process. Obama has managed to strong arm the AMA into endorsing his plan. But it’s been a long time since anything the AMA does has been relevant to the practice of medicine. There are 17 doctors in the Congress, 15 in the House and two in the Senate. Five are Democrats and 12 are Republicans. The GOP Doctor’s caucus has requested a meeting with the White House and is rejected on regular basis. I did find one Democrat doctor from Wisconsin, Steve Kagen, who is happy with the access he’s had to the process. According to Rep. Kagen’s staff, he “speaks regularly with the relevant committee and subcommittee chairs and House leadership about health care and has since he came to Congress. He has spoken with White House and Administration officials and on several occasions with President Obama both when he was a candidate and as President.” He’s even hitched a ride on Air Force One with the president on the way to an event in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

Not only has the president shown an aversion to including physicians in the process, he stated Wednesday in his press conference that doctors routinely do unnecessary procedures and surgery in order to get better reimbursements. He said rather than see a child repeatedly for a sore throat and find out what’s wrong, the doctor would look at the reimbursement rates and might take their tonsils out in order to get a better payment.

So the president thinks doctors are committing financial — and medical — fraud with regularity? Obama has no idea how the health care delivery system works and he’s saying anything to get this bill passed and he’s looking desperate.

Speaker Pelosi insists she’s got the votes to pass the health care reform bill. But what bill? For the last two days, the Health subcommittee of the Energy and Commerce Committee has cancelled their meetings because 7 Democrats don’t like the bill. With a committee make up of 36 Democrats and 23 Republican, if 7 Democrats vote with the Republicans, the bill doesn’t get out of committee. The Speaker can bypass the committee process, but that is unlikely.

So what to do? Keep the pressure on your representative. We are on track to keep this monstrosity from passing before the August recess. Keep the pressure up on districts across the county during the recess at town hall meetings and flood the local offices of your congressman and senators with phone calls opposing this nationalization of one sixth of our economy with out proper and pubic debate. We can win this.