Finished watching and liveblogging President Obama’s address to a joint session of Congress.  It was his 29th speech on health care, and I don’t think he’s going to sway many people.  You can read the transcript here.  The White House outlines his plan here.  You can read the Republican response given by Congressman Charles Boustany, MD (R-LA) here.

Initial thoughts – way too long.  Highly partisan, kept up the same mantra of blaming Bush, but somehow forgets we also had a Democratic Congress involved in spending prior to his administration.  I also don’t think he was nearly specific enough about how he would cut spending, and frankly, saying he wouldn’t add to the deficit was just plan laughable.  Threatening to call out people “if they misrepresent what is in the plan” (point out problems he glosses over) makes me wonder, exactly how will he go about that?  Also, isn’t that what they are doing to him?  Pointing out problems?

He brings up an individual mandate and said that everyone must have some type of medical insurance.  He likened it to how we are required to carry auto insurance.  Here’s the problem with making that correlation – the standard is carrying at least a certain amount of liability insurance incase you hit somebody else.  When you lack medical insurance and become ill, you aren’t liable to anyone.  You either pay up or suffer with the symptoms.  Personal responsibility.  I highly doubt it will found constitutional to force someone to have to pay for medical insurance.

He’s keeping the public option (no surprise there).  I will say I think the tax credit idea is a good one (a Republican idea), and that should be part of the health care reform bill.  I do like that he mentions waste and fraud in Medicare.  That is a huge problem.  I’m not going to hold my breath though.  He also brought up medical malpractice reform, but I will believe it when I see it.  It would be a great start in cutting costs, but it won’t pay for the whole thing.  What he does is far more important than what he says.

If he is serious about abortion not being paid for within the bill, or that rationing would not exist (nobody is saying the government will go in “and pull the plug”) then I expect him to be in favor of language in the bill that states clearly, specifically just that.  He also didn’t say he wouldn’t raise taxes, I’d like to see that promise.  Also one obvious way to address the problem of only being able to choose between a handful of health insurance companies in different states is to allow people to shop across state lines.  That would just make sense right?

Also, I can understand a nod to the late Senator Kennedy, but I thought how he went on and on and with Vice President Biden tearing up in the background (I’m not questioning the authenticity of his tears, I know they were friends) just struck me as manipulative.  Way over done.

The Center for Health Transformation gives a 10-point checklist by which you can grade the President.  What grade would you give him?  You can also grade him here.

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