Liveblogging the Obama Health Care Speech


8:05. The look of surprise Hillary Clinton uses when she greets people in crowds makes her look like she’s trying to wake herself up. We wonder if she has a callous on her cheek from getting kissed. Whoops, Brian Williams said “death panels” was bogus! Liberalmediabias! Do a shot!

8:11. These people look like they’re having too good a time. Open bar?

8:14. Will it be an extended hand, asks Williams, or a fist? Answer: it will be a baby’s arm with an apple in its fist. Oh come on, we’re just saying what you’re all thinking. Hey, some of this speech has already been released. And we could have taken this time to nap, or maybe get more drunk.

8:17. You gotta love all this applause. It makes things so festive!

“Worst economic crisis” etc. “We are by no means out of the woods.” Recovery “many months away. And I will not let up until those we seek jobs can find them.” Er, let up what? “I can stand here with confidence and say that we have pulled this economy back from the brink.” Cash for Clunkers was more successful than we dreamed! “Want to thank the American people for their patience.”

Not here just to “clean up crises.” He’s going to build a future. He’s not the first President to take up this cause “but I am determined to be the last.” Ah — something everyone left and right can cheer!

John Dingell Sr. brought this up in ’43, and now Dingell Jr. is still at it. Is that cheerworthy or sad?

Now on the uninsured. “Buying insurance on your own costs you three times as much as you get from your employer… the only advanced democracy on earth, the only nation that allows such hardship…” Well, in Russia we hear they just give you another bottle of vodka when you’re sick. And by “bottle” we mean “case.”

But even the insured are “unstable… more and more Americans pay their premiums and find their insurer will pull their coverage when they’re sick.” Guy with gallstones died because of it. Another woman had her breast cancer double in size. “No one should be treated that way in the United States of America.” Time to declare war on cancer and gallstones!

We spend more than other countries — “but we aren’t any healthier for it.” And “aspiring entrepreneurs cannot afford to open a business in the first place” — some wiseguy is thinking, yeah because I can’t make them by their own insurance. Thanks, Hitler! And this represents “a hidden tax,” so “our health care problem is our deficit problem — nothing else even comes close.”

“There are those on the left –” Mentions Canada — gets a hand from wisenheimers! “On the right… leave people to buy insurance on their own.” What, no applause? Obama says they both have a point, but he doesn’t want to “build an entirely new system from scratch.”

During the debate, we’ve seen “Washington at its best, and at its worst.” Best: hard work! The bill’s coming fast! “That has never happened before!” And we got the drug companies — with only a small bribe! But: “the same partisan spectacle that only hardens the disdain Americans have for their own government… short term political points… blizzard of charges… confusion has reined. Well, the time for bickering is over! The time for games has passed!” And he whips out a machine gun and forces them to pass this shit! You’re sorry you skipped it now, aren’t you?

“Here are the details that every American needs to know…”

Got insurance? Medicaid? V.A.? “Nothing in the plan will require you to change… let me repeat this… nothing. in our plan. requires you…” But it will “make the insurance you have work better for you.” No preexisting condition bullshit! They can’t drop or “water down” the coverage “when you need it the most.” And no “arbitrary cap” on the treatment you receive. “No one should go broke because they get sick.” It’s bread and roses, people! Aux barricades!

You’ll get routine checkups. Colonoscopies for everybody!

Now, if you don’t have health insurance — you’ll “finally get quality, affordable choices.” Starting your own business? Coverage! And competition! And colonoscopies! Just like Congress gets! And if you can’t afford it: Tax credits! The Republicans should like that. If you’re sick now, you’ll get “low cost coverage” like John McCain proposed. (Ole John is smiling, thumbing-up.)

What if you’re young and stupid and don’t want health care insurance? “Such irresponsible behavior costs the rest of us money… we pay for these people’s emergency room visits.” So “individuals will be required to carry health insurance… just as most states require you to carry car insurance.” HITLER! SOUND THE TOCSIN!

We can’t let people “game the system: It only works if we all participate.

“Significant details to be ironed out” gets a laugh.

Given all the misinformation… some Americans have grown nervous… bogus claims… only agenda is to kill reform at any cost.” For example, “kill off senior citizens… it is a lie plain and simple.”

And illegal immigrants — “this too is false.” Grumble grumble! Lie! someone yells. And no funded abortions! (Oh, okay, grudging applause.) And he’s not taking over all health care. “Consumers do better when there’s choice and competition. That’s how the market works.” Republicans LIKE, stand and cheer! But: “In Alabama, 90 percent” of health insurance “is controlled by just one company.” Insurance companies told Congress they do this to make profits. “I have no interest in putting insurance companies out of business… I just want to hold them accountable.” The room grows tense! Clapping for some, huggermugger for others.

And heeeeere’s the PUBLIC OPTION! HUGGERMUGGER HUGGERMUGGER! “It would only be an option for those who don’t have insurance. No one would be forced to choose it.” He thinks very few would take it. Insurers don’t like it. But really, it’s not that big, hence not that big a deal. Public universities don’t force out private universities. Derr!

“Left,” “right,” “the media” shouldn’t exaggerate the public option. Fellow communists: you’ll still get your utopian dream. Republican douchebags: Let’s work together! A couple of different kinds of pub op have been proposed. And we can debate these different versions of what Obama wants! It’s a free country.

Finally — “how we pay for this plan… I will not sign a plan that adds one dime to our deficits.” Next, he’ll pull a rabbit out of his hat! “To prove that I’m serious,” there’ll be a provision to mandate cuts if we don’t get profits. He says he got all these deficits up in here now from Bush. The commies roar!

He insists we’ll get savings by reforming of the currently wasteful system. Wants now to speak “directly to seniors.” Takes a moment so they can turn up the sound. “Our seniors should not be left to struggle with a pile of medical bills… sacred trust… one generation to the next… not a dollar of the Medicare trust fund… billions of dollars in waste and fraud…” Seniors will go for that — they’re thrifty — it’s a Depression thing. “We can use some of the savings to fill the gap in coverage… prescription drugs.” You got ’em by the balls now, Obama! “Don’t pay any attentions to those scary stories” from people who “have fought Medicare in the past.” Oh, my, he’s a regular Claude Pepper.

“Given all the misinformation… some Americans have grown nervous… bogus claims… only agenda is to kill reform at any cost.” For example, “kill off senior citizens… it is a lie plain and simple.”

He’s going to cut waste and get money from insurers, who will be charged a fee for their most expensive policies, which he claims has bipartisan support. Even that little bit will save money.

Ah, now an allusion to medical malpractice reform. Warm, warm Republican applause! He basks. “I don’t believe malpractice reform is a silver bullet, but… may be contributing…” Mentions Bush’s plan to do “demonstration projects” in the states; he’ll do it! Starting today! Grumble-applause — because they think it’s a trap, or because they hate Bush too?

Now for the bill: “$900 billion in ten years — less than we have spent on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and less than we’ve spent on tax cuts for the wealthy…” Nancy gets out of her seat! And this plan will cut the deficit by 4 trillion dollars. (What?)

He’ll listen to you, Republicans, but “know this: I will not waste time with those who made the calculation that it’s better to kill this plan than to take the time to improve it… if you misrepresent this plan, we will call you out. And I will not accept the status quo as a solution. Not this time.” He’s threatening to bite off their fingers!

Everyone knows what’ll happen if they don’t act, he says: Debt! And death! Won’t have it. “I received one of those letters a few days ago.” It was from… Ted Kennedy. To be read… after his death. “He expressed confidence that this was the year…” He said it was a “moral issue… justice… the character of our country.” Boo Ted Kennedy, motherfuckers!

Refers to “self-reliance.” Some found Kennedy’s liberalism “an affront” to it. But “those of us who knew Teddy –” Teddy? “His friend Orrin Hatch knows that… his friend John McCain knows that… his friend Chuck Grassley knows that…” Boy, they look pissed. Kennedy had sick kids. What would it be like if they couldn’t afford to get health care? (We know it’s hard, but try.) “It’s not a Republican or a Democratic feeling… our ability to stand in other people’s shoes…”

Now the hushed tones, the appeal to reason, Henry Fonda in Young Mr. Lincoln: Don’t you want to put that log down, boys? Ain’t it gettin’ a mite heavy?

“I still believe that we can act when it’s hard. I still believe we can replace acrimony with civility… and that here and now we will meet history’s test… that is our calling. That is our character.”

9:03. Commentators think it was contentious. Williams thinks it sounded “more like Question Time in the House of Commons” than anything American. He must not have seen Question Time in quite some time. Some Republican is going to speak. He’s a heart surgeon. He says America wanted Obama to smack down Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. Well, guess we can stop here. Goodnight everybody!

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