A Peek at Obama's Healthcare Speech: No Insistence on Public Option

By Christine Cupaiuolo — September 9, 2009

Earlier today, the media wondered how hard President Obama, in his speech to Congress tonight, would push for a healthcare reform bill that includes a public option.

This just in: Not that hard.

Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Robert Pear write in The New York Times:

President Obama will talk about the advantages of a public-insurance option in his nationally televised address to a joint session of Congress on health insurance reform Wednesday night, but he will not insist on it, the White House said on Wednesday afternoon.

“Security and stability” for those who do not have health insurance, and for those who do, will be a paramount theme for the president, with a public option a possible means to an end rather than an end in itself, White House officials said. They briefed journalists on condition that the details of Mr. Obama’s remarks be withheld until he speaks.

The White House’s latest hint of flexibility in his effort to overhaul health care coverage came just a few hours before the president is to address the nation, beginning at 8 p.m.

Earlier on Wednesday, Senator Max Baucus, the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, said that his panel would take up sweeping legislation and start voting on it in two weeks, with or without the support of Republicans.

“The time has come for action, and we will act,” Mr. Baucus said.

Mr. Baucus said that he very much hoped to win support from Republicans with whom he has been negotiating for months. But he said he firmly intended to “mark up” a bill the week of Sept. 21.

“Irrespective of whether there are any Republicans, I will move forward,” Mr. Baucus said after meeting Wednesday with Democrats on the committee. “We have to move forward. If there are not any Republicans on board, I will move forward in any event.”

Mr. Baucus said his bill — the starting point for the committee’s work — would not include a new government-run health insurance program, or public option, because “a public option cannot pass the Senate.”

With Mr. Baucus signaling his intentions, that will make five Congressional committees that will have advanced plans for health care reform.

In one indicator of the complexities of health care politics, the more liberal House is considered unlikely to pass a bill without a public option. The White House, which has favored a public option, has eased off recently in signaling that a public option is not a deal-breaker, as the White House officials’ comments on Wednesday afternoon made clear.

Continue reading for an analysis of where things stand with other Senate and House members.

Plus: David Herszenhorn has put together a how-to guide for watching Obama’s speech that includes tips on what to listen for and who to watch when it’s time for applause.

One response to “A Peek at Obama’s Healthcare Speech: No Insistence on Public Option”

  1. Why A Strong Public Option Is Essential – By jacksmith — Working Class

    Robert Reich explains the pubic option: http://bit.ly/19tHF4

    It’s not just because more than two thirds of the American people want a single payer health care system. And if they cant have a single payer system 77% of all Americans want a strong government-run public option on day one (86% of democrats, 75% of independents, and 72% republicans). Basically everyone.

    It’s not just because according to a new AARP POLL: 86 percent of seniors want universal healthcare security for All, including 93% of Democrats, 87% of Independents, and 78% of Republicans. With 79% of seniors supporting creating a new strong Government-run public option plan, available immediately. Including 89% of Democrats, 80% of Independents, and 61% of Republicans, STUNNING!!

    It’s not just because it will lower cost. Because a strong public option will dramatically lower cost for everyone. And dramatically improved the quality of care everyone receives in America and around the World. Rich, middle class, and poor a like.

    It’s not just because it will save trillions of dollars and prevent the needless deaths of millions more of YOU, caused by a rush to profit by the DISGRACEFUL, GREED DRIVEN, PRIVATE FOR PROFIT MEDICAL INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX!

    It’s not just because every expert in every field, including economist, and Nobel laureates all agree that free market based healthcare systems don’t work. Never have and never will. The US has the only truly free market based healthcare system in the World. And as you all know now, IT IS A DISASTER!

    It’s not just because providing or denying medically necessary care for profit motivations is wrong. Because it is WRONG! It’s professionally, ethically, and morally REPUGNANT!, Animalistic, VILE and EVIL.


    The public option is ESSENTIAL because over 200 million of you are trapped in the forest of the wolves. Which is the forest of the DISGRACEFUL, GREED DRIVEN, PRIVATE FOR PROFIT MEDICAL INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX! With no way out except through needless inhumane suffering, and DEATH. While the wolves tear at your flesh, and rip you limb from lib. Then feast on your lifeless bodies like a dead carcase for transplant parts.

    At the most vulnerable times of your lives (when you were sick and hurting), millions of you have had to fight and loose cruel, but heroic battles. Fighting against the big guns of the DISGRACEFUL, GREED DRIVEN, PRIVATE FOR PROFIT MEDICAL INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX! in the forest of the wolves. All because you have no place else to go. You have no other CHOICE!

    But the PUBLIC OPTION will give you someplace safe to go. And it will give us someplace safe to take you. The public option will be your refugium (your refuge). Where the wolves cannot get at you when your down, hurting, and vulnerable. Where everyone who needs it can find rest, security, comfort and the care they need. Protected by the BIG GUNS of We The People Of The United States. THE MOST POWERFUL PEOPLE AND COUNTRY ON EARTH.

    This is why it is so critical that we do not lead another 50 million vulnerable, uninsured Americans into the forest of the wolves, without the protections of a Strong Government-run public option. We The People Of The United States MUST NOT LET THAT HAPPEN to any more of our fellow Americans. If healthcare reform does not contain a strong public option on day one. YOU MUST! KILL IT. Or you will do far more harm than good. And millions more will die needlessly. Rich, middle class, and poor a like.

    To those who would continue to obstruct good and true healthcare reform for the American people, and who seek to trap millions more vulnerable Americans in the forest of the wolves. We will continue to fight you. We are prepared to wage all out war against you, and will eagerly DESTROY! you. Time…is…UP! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED! No Co-op’s! No Triggers!

    Healthcare reform can be the GREATEST! Accomplishment of our time and century. A time when future generations may say of us, that we were all, AMERICAS GREATEST GENERATIONS.


    I therefore call on all my fellow Americans and the peoples of the World. To join us in this fight so that we may finish becoming the better America that we aspire to be for everyone.


    I have been privileged to be witness as many of you fought, and struggled to take your first breath, and your last breath on this earth. Rich, middle class, and poor a like. Life is precious.

    Whatever the cost. WE! MUST SUCCEED.

    God Bless You My Fellow Human Beings

    jacksmith — Working Class

    Senator Bernie Sanders on healthcare (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RSM8t_cLZgk&feature=player_embedded)

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