Critique the president’s health-care speech

What did you think of the president’s health-care speech last night?

Following are the statements issued by our congressional delegation.

Sen. Tim Johnson

"This evening, the President clearly outlined his goals for a comprehensive health care reform effort. I appreciated his leadership on this issue tonight, and hope it continues in the days and weeks ahead. I am glad to see that he addressed the issue of pre-existing conditions, and that his proposal includes ideas from both sides of Capitol Hill and both sides of the aisle.

"Although I remain a strong supporter of a public option, the success or failure of this reform effort should not rest on a public option alone. There may be additional ways to contain cost and increase the availability of health care. I look forward to working with my colleagues on this issue.

"I was glad to hear more from the President on an insurance exchange, which has been put forth in legislation by both the HELP and Finance Committees. The concept of an insurance exchange would make insurers compete for new business by offering competitive prices. It’s an appealing idea and I look forward to hearing more specifics.

"The President was correct in saying that Congress has been working on this issue for the better part of this year with five committees having developed different bills. I remain as committed as ever to reforming our health care system and building on the progress we have made these last few months. This is about fixing what is broken and keeping what works, so that more Americans can have access to affordable health care."

Sen. John Thune

“I stand ready to work with the President and Congressional Democrats on a bipartisan common sense health care solution that would lower costs and improve care rather than force a massive new government expansion on the American people that would add to the debt, raise taxes, cut Medicare and put a government bureaucrat in charge of your health care. It is time for President Obama to put politics, ideology and the wants of special interest groups aside and show some leadership by working in a truly bipartisan manner on a health care reform package that will improve health care and lower costs without burdening our children and grandchildren with trillions of dollars in new debt."

Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin

“What we heard from the President tonight is what I heard the vast majority of South Dakotans acknowledge as I traveled the state throughout the month of August: health care reform is necessary because the status quo is unsustainable. There is too much at stake for South Dakota’s families and businesses. I was pleased to hear the President focus on two issues in particular-common sense insurance market reforms that already enjoy bipartisan support and the need to effectively address skyrocketing health care costs going forward.

“To be sure, work remains to determine the best way forward. While I cannot support the House bill in its current form, I believe we have a responsibility to pass health care reform legislation that is deficit neutral, that ensures access, fairness and affordability of coverage for South Dakotans, and that takes a responsible approach to long-term costs with a focus on achieving higher quality health care outcomes."

16 thoughts on “Critique the president’s health-care speech

  1. There seems to be universal disgust at the way the congressman shocked the world with his false charge that Pres. Obama lied. As yet, the congressman has not admitted that he, the congressman, was the one who lied.

    That begs the question, did Supt. Graves when he accused Pres. Obama of stealing, also bear false witness? Did Pres. Obama take or try to take anything from the students of America? Pres. Obama did offer to talk to the students. The students could have listened to Pres. Obama or they like some republican congresspeople could have just been text messaging. Perhaps some students in Mitchell text message while they are in class? By Supt. Graves’ logic,would the teachers be guilty of stealing. An apology is in order!

  2. There are an impressive range of views coming from congressional leaders in South Dakota. You have the whole scope — from righty tighty to lefty loosey to everything in between. Pretty impressive for a state with only three people in DC.

  3. I thought the President offered an articulate and impassioned plan for health care reform. He succinctly laid out the problems with the current system. He demonstrated an effort to incorporate ideas from supporters and opponents, including a seemingly uncomfortable Sen. McCain. He nailed the criticisms of the plan, including the non-existant “death panels”, “government takeover” and financing. He closed with a reminder of the place in history, alongside Social Security and Medicare this legislation will hold.

    He also spoke in complete sentences.

    It sounds to me from the press releases of our congressional delegation that they will be able to support the President’s plan, as he outlined it in his address. (Read what they say. Listen to what the President said.)

    “If you misrepresent what’s in this plan, we will call you out.”
    -Pres. Obama

  4. I’m going to have to read the transcript. It was too dificult to concentrate with Nancy Pelosi looming over him twitching and making funny faces.

  5. But, the outburst by Rep. Williams of SC was “way out of line” and extremely disrespectful of our current President and the history of our nation’s House of Representatives protocol.

  6. It’s too bad that our government is becoming the new Jerry Springer, at least it looks that way with the insanity at the town meetings and again last night with the comment called out while the President Of The United States was addressing Congress. Shame on you Rep. Wilson.

  7. A health-care op-ed piece we just received from Rep. Herseth Sandlin:

    Health Care: Let’s Focus on Areas of Agreement First

    Representative Stephanie Herseth Sandlin

    While home in August, I had the chance to visit with thousands of South Dakotans from communities across the state, to listen to them and have a robust discussion of health care, energy, agriculture, veterans policy and a number of other topics. It was a busy month and with Congress now back in session, the issue of health care is front and center. As I’ve said before, I believe that our country can’t afford not to reform health care. Our system can and must be reformed because the status quo is unsustainable. There is simply too much at stake for South Dakota’s families and businesses.

    I was pleased to hear the President in a recent speech to a joint session of Congress focus on addressing two issues in particular that get at the heart of these concerns: common-sense insurance market reforms that already enjoy bipartisan support; and the need to bring down skyrocketing health care costs going forward. I strongly support ending the ability of insurance companies to exclude people with preexisting conditions from getting coverage, and I just as strongly support ending the insurance companies’ ability to cancel coverage when someone becomes sick. These practices must end, period – and I don’t think there is much debate about that on either side of the aisle.

    I also support charging insurance companies a fee for issuing gold-plated health insurance plans. This is likely to be one of the largest single sources of cost savings. A similar proposal is contained in a bill I have cosponsored, which is the only bipartisan bill in Congress so far that the Congressional Budget Office has concluded will bring down costs significantly in the long-term, and that’s the bipartisan Wyden-Bennett bill, named for the Democratic senator from Oregon and the Republican senator from Utah.

    Bringing down costs and reforming the insurance market have bipartisan appeal and should serve as a foundation as we move forward in crafting necessary, but appropriate, health care reform policy. To be sure, work remains to determine the best set of policies to include in the package. But fundamentally, I believe the Congress has a responsibility to pass health care reform legislation that is deficit neutral, that ensures access, fairness and affordability of coverage for South Dakotans, and that takes a responsible approach to long-term costs with a focus on achieving higher quality health care outcomes.

    The moderates in the House have our work cut out for us but looking at what lies ahead in the legislative process, I’m hopeful that we can refocus our energy on aspects of reform that can garner bipartisan support. We need to get this right, and thus far, too much energy has been expended on the more controversial proposals put forth, like the public option, or even on correcting misinformation about what’s actually in the bill. That’s unfortunate and it does a disservice to one of the most important issues for every South Dakotan.

    I support necessary change in health care for our families and businesses in South Dakota, but not radical change. This isn’t about fulfilling the wildest dreams of a political agenda on either side of the ideological political spectrum – it’s about ensuring that Americans, our friends, neighbors, and family members, have access to quality, affordable health care. We can all agree on that goal, and while I continue to oppose the House version of the legislation in its current form to moving forward and passing meaningful health care reform by the end of the year.

  8. Re: the op-ed above and “the more controversial proposals, put forth, like the public option,”

    It’s ironic that this is considered controversial for our state when

    (Raasch: McGovern’s health care plan
    Former senator suggests Medicare for all
    Chuck Raasch • September 11, 2009)

    “More than one in four South Dakotans already is covered by a government-run health care plan.
    The Kaiser Family Foundation says 14.4 percent of South Dakotans are on Medicare, BEHIND ONLY Florida, Pennsylvania and West Virginia (emphasis added). An additional 10 percent are on Medicaid, government coverage for the poor. Some 2.2 percent are on other government plans, including the military.”

    I think Rep. Herseth Sandlin has a formidable task serving an admittably conservative state like SD as a member of the same Democratic party that holds executive office. I know she thinks she can’t offend even the least informed, most extremist Obama opponent and remain in office. Maybe she can’t. But I see signs of intelligent life on this blog and in the cafe conversations I’ve heard. I think she should give South Dakotans more credit.

    She is correct when she says, “too much energy has been expended on… correcting misinformation about what’s actually in the bill.”

    When people get facts, not distortions and lies, there is growing support for health care reform in general and for a public option in particular.

    And there is room for common ground.

    Short version – “This isn’t about fulfilling the wildest dreams of a political agenda on either side of the ideological political spectrum,” -Rep. SHS

    Longer version – “My health care proposal has also been attacked by some who oppose reform as a ‘government takeover’ of the entire health care system. As proof, critics point to a provision in our plan that allows the uninsured and small businesses to CHOOSE (emphasis added) a publicly sponsored insurance option, administered by the government just like Medicaid or Medicare…

    Let me be clear — it would only be an option for those who don’t have insurance. No one would be forced to choose it, and it would not impact those of you who already have insurance. In fact, based on Congressional Budget Office estimates, we believe that less than 5 percent of Americans would sign up.

    It’s worth noting that a strong majority of Americans still favor a public insurance option of the sort I’ve proposed tonight. But its impact shouldn’t be exaggerated — by the left, the right, or the media. It is only one part of my plan, and should not be used as a handy excuse for the usual Washington ideological battles. To my progressive friends, I would remind you that for decades, the driving idea behind reform has been to end insurance company abuses and make coverage affordable for those without it. The public option is only a means to that end — and we should remain open to other ideas that accomplish our ultimate goal. And to my Republican friends, I say that rather than making wild claims about a government takeover of health care, we should work together to address any legitimate concerns you may have.” – Pres. BHO

  9. I voted for Obama for this very reason, change and how we are getting that opportunity- let’s not blow it? If mandated that is better than what I have now I’ll take it- it seesm that if you have options you have politics- they are the loud articulate ones- the rest of us uninsured the quiet ones- not at the table- barely on the playing field- not considered in these debates. tHIS COUNTRY OUGHT TO BE ASHMED OF ITSELF.

  10. Something obviously needs to be done about health care but it ticks me off a bit that he seems to have tunnel vision right now and wants to pass something no matter what. He speaks about bipartisanship but his actions are a bit different. According to Rep. John Boehner the Administration has not invited House GOP leaders to the White House for health care reform meetings since April. If you’re going to pretend to be bipartisan at least invite the other side over even if you have no intention of listening to them. We have nationwide unemployment of nearly 10% and the stimulus, which is mostly one time projects and expenditures is merely a very expensive band-aid. This economy is still stagnant. Nearly every construction project in progress in SD right now is road construction, hospitals, jails, water treatment plants, state and federal offices, airports, National Guard, or Ellsworth Air Force Base. There are still very few private dollars being spent and it would be nice to hear about something besides health care right now. No wonder his approval rating is sinking like the Titanic.

  11. For ‘Ridiculous’: I can tell you why there are very little to no private construction projects right now. It is called “healthcare expenses”. Even with a premium insurance policy through my husband’s employer, we still pay a co-pay at the doctor’s office, have high priced meds and around $200 is deducted each bi-weekly pay period to keep the 2 of us insured. Even with the BC/BS we still have meds cost around $300 a month. There are no building projects in our near future if the healthcare cost keep rising.

  12. BC/BS

    I sympathize with your predicament but I don’t believe the private sector stopped spending capital on EVERYTHING because of rising healthcare costs. It likely has more to do with the fear that their taxes will skyrocket due to the massive government spending that has already taken place and will only get worse if the government forces businesses and individuals to buy coverage they cannot afford to pay for. You’d have to be delusional to believe healthcare could become better or more affordable if the government gets involved, after all they do such a great job with everything else:)

  13. Ridiculous, Medicare is already both better and more affordable than private insurance and I am pretty sure government is heavily involved in that:)

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