Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Obama's Speech Leaves Lots of Room for Compromise

Well his mighty speech to get health care on track seemed to be more of the same sort of thing but he is leaving room for compromise on the hated "government plan."

For example, some have suggested that that the public option go into effect only in those markets where insurance companies are not providing affordable policies. Others propose a co-op or another nonprofit entity to administer the plan. These are all constructive ideas worth exploring. But I will not back down on the basic principle that if Americans can't find affordable coverage, we will provide you with a choice. And I will make sure that no government bureaucrat or insurance company bureaucrat gets between you and the care that you need.

I'm also glad that he let malpractice reform slip into the conversation in a kind of wishy-washy sort of way.

Finally, many in this chamber — particularly on the Republican side of the aisle — have long insisted that reforming our medical malpractice laws can help bring down the cost of health care. I don't believe malpractice reform is a silver bullet, but I have talked to enough doctors to know that defensive medicine may be contributing to unnecessary costs. So I am proposing that we move forward on a range of ideas about how to put patient safety first and let doctors focus on practicing medicine. I know that the Bush Administration considered authorizing demonstration projects in individual states to test these issues. It's a good idea, and I am directing my Secretary of Health and Human Services to move forward on this initiative today.

Yup demonstration projects led by HHS sounds pretty sad but is better then nothing. But I wanted him to say that he was proposing a cap on malpractice rewards of $250,000 or something similar. That would have set the groundwork for a bipartisan bill and would have eliminated a major argument against health care reform. Other then that, the speech didn't seem like the sort of home run that could get millions of Americans back on his side.

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