Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Obama Faces Down The Astroturfers.

At last, Obama stands up to the plate and makes the case for healthcare reform. He began by pointing out all that was false in the most ludicrous Republican talking points.

If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan. You will not be waiting in any lines.

This is not about putting the government in charge of your health insurance. I don't believe anyone should be in charge of your health insurance decisions but you and your doctor. (Applause.) I don't think government bureaucrats should be meddling, but I also don't think insurance company bureaucrats should be meddling. That's the health care system I believe in.
That's the hypocrisy of the Republican argument. This pretence that there is currently no-one between the patient and the doctor.

Of course, there is someone between the patient and the doctor; there is an insurance company between them. And insurance companies are concerned with profit, much more than they are concerned with anyone's health.

He then gave examples of the kind of games which the insurance companies have been indulging in:
And I've heard from so many Americans who have the same worries. One woman testified that an insurance company would not cover her internal organs because of an accident she had when she was five years old. Think about that -- that covers a lot of stuff. (Laughter.) They're only going to cover your skin. (Laughter.) Dermatology, that's covered; nothing else. (Laughter.)
He went on:
Under the reform we're proposing, insurance companies will be prohibited from denying coverage because of a person's medical history. Period. (Applause.) They will not be able to drop your coverage if you get sick. (Applause.) They will not be able to water down your coverage when you need it. (Applause.) Your health insurance should be there for you when it counts -- not just when you're paying premiums, but when you actually get sick. And it will be when we pass this plan. (Applause.)
The Democrats have all the valid points on this issue; they simply have to make their case. But, they must always bear in mind that people are genuinely fearful of change; which is what the Republicans are playing upon.

He then addressed the astroturfers:
Now, before I start taking questions, let me just say there's been a long and vigorous debate about this, and that's how it should be. That's what America is about, is we have a vigorous debate. That's why we have a democracy. But I do hope that we will talk with each other and not over each other -- (applause) -- because one of the objectives of democracy and debate is, is that we start refining our own views because maybe other people have different perspectives, things we didn't think of.

Where we do disagree, let's disagree over things that are real, not these wild misrepresentations that bear no resemblance to anything that's actually been proposed.
(Applause.) Because the way politics works sometimes is that people who want to keep things the way they are will try to scare the heck out of folks and they'll create boogeymen out there that just aren't real.
Of course, this will have no effect whatsoever on the nutcases who have, so far, been dominating this debate; but Obama, at least, has given supporters of health care reform an argument with which to confront the madness. He has publicly denied the claims of the more deranged hysterics lined up against this plan.

And he has pointed out that insurance companies are in this for profit, and that this is often where the American system falls down.

The reason the astroturfers scream and try to silence this debate is because it is a debate which they will lose if they stick to the facts. Which is why Obama has chosen to respond in the way in which he has.

Obama is responding with a factual argument, which won't have any effect on the loons, but just might make the reasonable voters - confused by all this noise - pause and consider what he is saying.

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