Obama's healthcare reform speech to Congress

President Barack Obama's disapproval ratings were rising at an alarmingly (to Democrats) rapid pace back in July when he was very visible and very vocal in his attempts to push an unpopular healthcare reform bill down our collective throat. Most analysts thought those numbers might smooth out when Obama "disappeared" for a while during the August recess. But the approval numbers sank even further as the disapprovals kept inching upwards.


There ain't no such thing as a free lunch

It used to be tradition in 19th century American saloons for barkeepers to give a free lunch to any patron who bought a drink.

But, of course, the lunch wasn’t free because you had to buy a drink to get it. Saloon owners knew that if they could get folks in the door with free food, they could keep them there with expensive booze.

Milton Friedman wrote a whole book called, There is No Such Thing as a Free Lunch, where he laid out, in economic terms, how expensive “free” can be.


Healthcare: The illusion of choice

At first glance, the strongest argument advanced by opponents of universal healthcare is the need to protect personal freedom.

Part of this has to do with Americans' preference for free markets. When we shop, we like to have plenty of choice, whether the commodity is breakfast cereal, automobiles or healthcare. We're afraid that, if we adopt universal healthcare, our healthcare choices will be restricted.


After the public option goes

The president has staked much of his reputation and Republicans have aimed much of their fire at the so-called public option.

The left originally only cared about a single-payer plan, but after they came to the bitter conclusion that single-payer was not gonna happen, they turned to the public option as their last best chance to get real reform.


Time for Team Obama to show pragmatist side

It will soon be time for the liberal left to let it go.
Sure, there's a chance President Obama comes out next week and wages a useless fight for the public option that won't pass the Senate, but he always seemed more of a pragmatic type to me.


Obama's upcoming speech on healthcare

We sure know President Barack Obama is going to "prescriptive" in his speech next Wednesday before a joint session of Congress, since both Rahm Emanual and David Axelrod both used the catchy, medical-sounding adjective in their interviews with reporters promising that the president is finally stepping in for a final hands-on role in the politically unhealthy reform debate.
But will he be specific? And will he admit the inevitable — that a public plan won't pass the U.S. Senate, not because of Republicans but because it isn't supported there by members of his own party?


Obama addresses Congress

Madam Speaker, Mr. Vice President,

Thank you for inviting me to address this joint session of Congress.

I hope you all had a nice August break. I know I did. I had a chance to visit some great Americans out west, my kids got a chance to see Yellowstone, I got a chance to do some fishing and get some golf in at the Vineyard.

Sad about our colleague Ted Kennedy. He was a great American, and of course, without him, I wouldn’t be standing here today.

But I am pretty refreshed from my summer vacation, and now I am ready to start working on healthcare reform.

I know some of you had a chance to talk to the American people about our plan.

Or should I say your plan.


Katrina and the waves

Katrina Vanden Heuvel, the noted left-winger, writes a provocative piece in The Nation where she makes the case that Democrats should use any means necessary to pass a healthcare bill.

Why I find this article fascinating is because she talks about how her father was a close friend of the Kennedys, and he sailed with Ted Kennedy all the time.

I wish I could have sailed with Ted Kennedy. I wish I could sail with anybody, but I don’t have the money. And that is why I get a kick out of this article.

Lieberman opens the door to Democratic retreat

Sen. Joe Lieberman's (I-Conn.) criticism of the Obama healthcare initiative may prove to be a pivotal turning point in the congressional debate over the increasingly unpopular proposal. Previous commentary about the Obama plans has focused exclusively on their impact on healthcare in America. The elderly are increasingly recognizing that, whatever its defenders say, extending coverage to 50 million new people — without any new doctors or nurses or equipment or hospitals — will create a scarcity that will lead to rationing, to the disadvantage of those over 65. Defenders of the free enterprise system have looked with alarm at the socialization of one-sixth of our economy and opponents of single-payer systems have argued that government control of healthcare is the inevitable result of the plan.

No thanks, Brent — neither side is a winner these days

Note: This post is a reply to the preceding post. —Ed.

Sorry, Brent, no wager this time.

I am not placing any bets on the Democrats or Republicans at this juncture, seeing the dismal job both parties have done finding remotely sensible, pragmatic, reasonable or constructive ways to fix our broken healthcare system.

This is a good opportunity to remind Brent — and all our readers — that I am in fact a neutral, non-partisan analyst at The Hill newspaper and am not taking any sides. I don't debate policy but I do debate political strategy, and right now the Democrats are losing — as Dick Cheney would say — big time.