Obama Creates Health Care Program to Earn Respect

At Politico, Roger Simon argues that President Obama’s first health-care town hall was, well, I’ll let him describe it:

“Barack Obama needed an angry mob at his town hall meeting in Portsmouth, N.H., this week.

He needed to show strength, resolve and fortitude in the face of confrontation, anger and vitriol.

Instead, Obama got a tea party. His health care town hall was filled with polite people who apparently felt that a president of the United States deserves a certain amount of respect.

What a disaster. Everybody was expecting what is happening at the town hall meetings being held by members of Congress this summer: yelling, screaming, the waving of arms and the gnashing of teeth.” , Atlanta Journal Constitution reports.

I am not a wonk. Usually this is not a problem. But when it comes to health care reform, it matters. You see, I long to dash forward, flaming sword in hand, to champion President Obama's health care plan. Every day I get e-mails from Health Care for America Now, Organizing for America, MoveOn.org and similar groups urging me to write my Congressman, attend a town-hall meeting, host a gathering. But how can I speak knowledgeably about a plan that does not yet exist and in which the parameters keep shifting? , NPR reports.

And, despite Medicare's funding problems, it has still performed better than the private system. Healthcare costs really took off in the 1980s, after supply-side oriented deregulation gave insurance companies the freedom to charge patients exorbitant premiums and out-of-pocket costs while denying coverage to sick people and patients with pre-existing conditions. Peter Orszag, a lauded economist and White House budget director, has explained why today's private-dominated health system is the main force plunging the United States into bankruptcy.

Conservatives believe the free market is the solution to fix health care (and all other social problems). But any for-profit insurance structure is conceptually at odds with the demands of public health – it isn't profitable to take care of the poor or the sick. This is a basic economic reality. They get away with it because unlike other commodities, healthcare is often a matter of life and death , guardian.co.uk reports.

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