Browsing the blog archivesfor the day Tuesday, December 6th, 2011.

Full Text of Osawatomie Speech

Obama Administration

[This is a transcript of the President’s speech this afternoon.]

Good afternoon. I want to start by thanking a few of the folks who’ve joined us today. We’ve got the mayor of Osawatomie, Phil Dudley; your superintendent, Gary French; the principal of Osawatomie High, Doug Chisam. And I’ve brought your former governor, who’s now doing an outstanding job as our Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius.

It is great to be back in the state of Kansas. As many of you know, I’ve got roots here. I’m sure you’re all familiar with the Obamas of Osawatomie. Actually, I like to say that I got my name from my father, but I got my accent – and my values – from my mother. She was born in Wichita. Her mother grew up in Augusta. And her father was from El Dorado. So my Kansas roots run deep.

My grandparents served during World War II — he as a soldier in Patton’s Army, she as a worker on a bomber assembly line. Together, they shared the optimism of a nation that triumphed over a Depression and fascism. They believed in an America where hard work paid off, responsibility was rewarded, and anyone could make it if they tried — no matter who you were, where you came from, or how you started out.

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Stuff to Read About Health Care

Health Care, Obama Administration

The Los Angeles Times has an op ed by a woman who had been an Obama supporter in 2008 but who turned into an Obama basher later because he betrayed the middle class and all. She even changed her Obama bumper sticker from “hope” to “nope.” But then she changed her mind again.

Why? She was diagnosed with breast cancer, and she has no insurance. But then she found out she could get insurance through the Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan.

It’s part of President Obama’s healthcare plan, one of the things that has already kicked in, and it guarantees access to insurance for U.S. citizens with preexisting conditions who have been uninsured for at least six months. The application was short, the premiums are affordable, and I have found the people who work in the administration office to be quite compassionate (nothing like the people I have dealt with over the years at other insurance companies.) It’s not perfect, of course, and it still leaves many people in need out in the cold. But it’s a start, and for me it’s been a lifesaver — perhaps literally.

I didn’t even know about the Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan, which is separate and usually less expensive than the high-risk pool plan, which I did know about. The PCIP will be phased out once the Affordable Care Act goes into total effect in 2014,

The PCIPs can be administered by states, but if the state doesn’t want to mess with it the feds will administer it for them within that state. Interestingly, on the whole “red” states seem more inclined to just let the feds do it than “blue” ones.

Not everyone will be able to afford PCIP insurance, but it will be of help to some people, like the woman who wrote the op ed. In other words, it’s better than nothing. A lot of progressives continue to fail to understand that by holding out for single payer or the public option or whatever else they wanted that had no chance in hell of passing even in 2010, never mind now, they were choosing nothing.

Elsewhere, a Brit visiting New York — to take part in the OWS demonstrations — was bitten by a brown recluse spider and thereby gained firsthand experience with the U.S. healthcare system. Fortunately for her, she had travel insurance that seems to have paid for most of her care. She was treated at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City, which I understand to be a better than average hospital. But she says, she perceived how “the stranglehold of American private healthcare keeps ordinary people cowed and compliant in the land of the notionally free.”

I do have a quibble with her article. “President Obama’s attempt to reform the system in 2009 roundly failed to remove healthcare as a source of perennial anxiety for most American citizens, or to lighten the dead hand of the market on medical provision in the US.” She doesn’t seem to understand that most of it hasn’t gone into effect yet, although I’d bet money that most OWSers don’t understand what’s in the ACA, either, other than it lacks a public option.

Finally — a few days ago some of you were commenting on Rick Ungar’s article in Forbes about how the ACA’s hitherto little-known regulations of insurance companies’ medical loss ratio would drive insurance companies out of business and usher in the dawn of a national single payer system. Unfortunately, as Sarah Kliff explains, the regulations will not drive insurance companies out of business. It might shave a little off their profits, but they’ll still make profits.

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