Obama to GOP: Stop Living In the Past on Healthcare

Posted: Jan 25, 2011 11:54 PM
President Obama devoted precious little time to defending Obamacare (which hit a new low in popularity earlier in the day) in his national address tonight.  Just three paragraphs of an hour long speech.  But he made the most of those few sentences, hitting his talking point trifecta: Demonizing greedy insurance companies, exploiting a sob story to inoculate the law against substantive criticism, and demanding that Republicans quit living in the past with their repeal zealotry:

When we find rules that put an unnecessary burden on businesses, we will fix them. But I will not hesitate to create or enforce commonsense safeguards to protect the American people...And it’s why we passed reform that finally prevents the health insurance industry from exploiting patients.

Now, I’ve heard rumors that a few of you have some concerns about the new health care law. So let me be the first to say that anything can be improved. If you have ideas about how to improve this law by making care better or more affordable, I am eager to work with you. We can start right now by correcting a flaw in the legislation that has placed an unnecessary bookkeeping burden on small businesses.

What I’m not willing to do is go back to the days when insurance companies could deny someone coverage because of a pre-existing condition. I’m not willing to tell James Howard, a brain cancer patient from Texas, that his treatment might not be covered. I’m not willing to tell Jim Houser, a small business owner from Oregon, that he has to go back to paying $5,000 more to cover his employees. As we speak, this law is making prescription drugs cheaper for seniors and giving uninsured students a chance to stay on their parents’ coverage. So instead of re-fighting the battles of the last two years, let’s fix what needs fixing and move forward.

President Obama has spent the last two years "re-fighting the battles" of the previous eight, so his admonition to Republicans was specious and silly.  He feigned magnanimity by offering to play ball on the disastrous 1099 tax provision embedded in Obamacare.  First of all, Republicans have twice tried (and failed) to repeal that individual element in the Senate.  Secondly, Democrats knew exactly how awful that item was when they voted for it...because it added revenue to the totally bogus CBO score they were manipulating to manufacture a "deficit reduction" mirage.  They needed this purely to give political cover to a handful of recalcitrant Democrats in order to drag their carcass of a bill across the finish line against the clear will of the public.