Before we get started, take a look outside in the Vermont skies for the space shuttle and international space station going overhead
Hillary wearing red….but wait! So is Pelosi!! Don’t they talk beforehand?
We are watching the NBC feed, and Brian Williams has been prattling on about “death panels” as if that’s what’s turned this debate.
Note that the choice to give this speech in the House legislative chambers is not merely to demonstrate the significance of this speech. It’s also designed to remind voters that, in the end, it’s up to Congress to make this happen, not Obama.
While we are waiting, here’s a quiz for you: when Bill Clinton went before Congress to give his speech on health care in 1993, what impact did it have on his poll numbers? Nate Silver looks at the Gallup polls and suggests the speech moved numbers in Clinton’s favor. but if you look at several polls, the results actually look different: Clinton gets no bump. See the Roper poll at:
Ok, much hurrahs and cheering as he takes the podium. Years ago when Clinton gave his health care speech the teleprompter brought up the wrong speech. For seven minutes Clinton spoke from memory and notes. No one noticed. So you can imagine how smooth he was in denying any dalliances when speaking to Hillary….
Ok, nice touch here to open with an overview of the economy, to set the stage for linking his success here to health care.
You’d think Dingell would try something different – his bill obviously isn’t working!
Ok, the first of what will be several efforts to frame this as a “middle class” bill. the problem, as Clinton found out, is that most middle class voters are pleased with their health care, although they worry about spiraling costs. And now the effort to use the insurance company as the bogeyman here.
Uh oh. I’m probably in the minority here, but I just don’t think these types of stories are the way to sell health care.
Health care costs, on the other hand, is something that resonates with voters.
So far he’s laid out the problem. He needs to get to the solution.
And now he positions himself in the middle. It’s the Henry Kissinger memo strategy – we have three options in Vietnam: unilateral withdrawal, nuclear war, or my strategy: gradual escalation.
(Dan – I’m not against personal stories. But stories in the context of scaring people worries me, particularly because it doesn’t bring insurance companies on board.)
Ooops, the rhetorical repeat fell flat there.
Look, soaring rhetoric is just not going to do it here. He needs to get down to proposals. Ok, here it comes:
Start with the points of agreement – no denial of coverage for preexisting coverage, or dropped insurance, or caps, or limits on out of pocket expenses. Low hanging fruit, and all will get bipartisan support.
purchasing cooperatives are right out of the Clinton Health Security Act.
A nod to McCain (ok, he was right after all….)
Now he begins skating on thin ice. Americans simply do not like the word “required” – this touches on an ideological divide between Republicans and Democrats. I’m not sure this is going to fly.
Significant differences still to be ironed out – you think?!
This is a mistake. He shouldn’t be giving “death panels” new life at all. Same with illegal immigrants – don’t go there.
Did someone just say he’s a liar?!
Is he about to throw the public option under the bus? If you listen carefully here, he’s hedging bigtime on whether the public option is going to save money or not.
Zoom! The bus just rolled through! Nancy is not pleased…
Or did it? He’s really trying to have it both ways here, which is precisely what both Republicans and Democrats have criticized him for doing..
this – the promise that the plan will be revenue neutral – is crucial for getting moderates support. The question is: will it pass the smell test? Olympia Snowe, among others, says she will wait to hear the CBO estimates.
The notion that an increase in expenditures can be paid for by reducing waste and administrative overhead goes back to the Reagan administration’s plan to balance the budget. It is a dubious claim. Certainly insurance companies are not going to accept that some of their profits are “waste”.
Medicare protection – a bit of misdirection here….
An olive branch to the Republicans: malpractice reform. It won’t be enough to bring them on board.
I have to say I will be surprised if the CBO numbers are anywhere near what he’s projecting in terms of cost savings, and where he will get them.
Ah, I was waiting for the Kennedy card to be played… .
This is a really interesting choice of strategies – I’m not sure how it’s going to play. Kennedy was one of the most beloved Senators in the Senate – and one of the most politically divisive figures in American politics. Is this going to be portrayed as rank politics, or a moving tribute? And will it serve to unify public support, or divide?
The problem with his use of these illustrations is that both programs – Social Security and Medicare – are facing fiscal pressures……
Will the rhetorical finish — which he does so well – help bridge substantive differences on the particulars of legislation?
Will he quote Kennedy at the end?
Ok, send me your reactions!
To start things off, I am not convinced that Jane or John Q. Public really understand the details of his health care plan after this speech. It’s a complex issue, but he did little to simplify the issues. Substantively, he placed himself squarely in the political middle – hailing Republicans and Democrats, while dissing those on the left and the right. The theme he came back to again and again was health care reform as a middle class program.
But first – the Republican response from Charles Bostany
If insurance companies are Obama’s bogeyman, Reid and Pelosi are the Republicans!
A bit of sleight of hand here- he’s portraying the House bill as Obama’s bill – but they aren’t the same.
Obama portrays health care reform as a middle class program – the Republicans portray it as a government takeover of medicine.
Ok, now let me know what you think! NBC has cut off the coverage, so I’ll see if I can get the pundits reaction via other sources…
Well, my analysis of the pundits’ reaction will have to wait until tomorrow – class prep takes precedent. But left me finish with a few first impressions of the speech:
Hillary is smiling! There is not a little irony in Obama deciding to sign onto a policy that mandates that everyone must get coverage – as some of you will recall during the campaign, this is what Hillary advocated, but Obama rejected it then, saying the penalties for not getting coverage under Clinton’s plan were too harsh.
There’s bound to be pushback on Obama’s claim that under his plan no one will be forced to change their plans. In truth, if his plan is adopted, it is likely that many employer-based insurance plans will be dropped, necessitating a change in policy for some people.
It will be interesting to see whether the CBO cost projections fall anywhere near Obama’s.
I’m running short on time, but I see by the blog stats that this was one of the most read posts in a while, so I expect more comments after you’ve had a night to digest things. I’ll be on tomorrow with more analysis. I particularly want to address some of the public opinion data on the public option, and health care reform more generally – there is a lot of misinformation based on the misreading of polling data regarding these questions.