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President Takes on Role as Chief Pitchman for Health Reform- Buy NOW! [Commentary]

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Posted by Kristie Arslan - If you’ve ever had a bout of insomnia which left you flipping through the channels of very late night television, you have run across those crazy yet oddly addictive infomercials for various products or self-help programs.  Was it me or did the President’s much hyped speech on health reform last night seem like he was trying to sell us something? Albeit he had a much more impressive backdrop and he certainly had a better pitch than those we see plugging products, but nonetheless it was the same old pitch in a fancier package.

Did people think the President's speech lived up to the hype?  Was it the lightening rod needed to bridge the divide on reform and move the ball forward?    

It is no shocker that the Democrats bought what the President was selling and gave him a rousing thumbs up.  They say the speech was just what was needed to reawaken their resolve to pass health reform.  Republicans sat either stone faced or shaking their heads through most of the speech making it clear that they aren’t going to give one inch to the President on this issue or likely on any issue.   

Maybe I have been in the beltway too long, yet from my perspective as an advocate for the self-employed, the roll out of the President’s plan was a non-news event.  Other than throwing a bone to Republicans on medical malpractice liability reform and gently scolding his fellow Democrats on their public option or nothing crusade, the President didn’t offer Americans, especially the self-employed, any new ideas on reform.   

The President pitched a set of proposals that are already included in the three key Congressional health reform packages: 

  • Creation of an Exchange to allow individuals and small businesses without health insurance to have a place to go to purchase coverage – Check
  • Tax credits for individuals and small business – Check
  • Market reforms to ensure that your health status or a preexisting condition will no longer determine whether you are able to access or keep your coverage – Check
  • Mandates requiring all individuals to purchase coverage and all small businesses above a certain size to provide coverage to employees or pay a fine – Check
  • Measures to pay for health reform – Check

The key question remains, what does the President have to offer on health reform that is new and will help those who need reform the most like the self-employed?  We're happy to help with some recommendations, Mr. President.   

While I am pleased that the President has decided to take a more active role on health reform and referee the players on Capitol Hill, ultimately we all know that the devil is in the details.  If the President is going to hold fast to the current proposals (some good, some bad) on the table and not offer any new ideas, then we need to know his opinion on the details and how it differs from Congress.   

And just like those late night infomercials that suck you in with promises of clear skin, easily chopped vegetables or becoming a millionaire from the comfort of your own home, the President adeptly avoided discussing the fine print with Americans last night.  Yet, we all know it is that fine print which will determine the success or failure of health reform.


  1. 2 Charlie Luke 10 Sep
    President Obama is definitely trying to sell the congress and the public on health care reform.  I, for one, think it is about time we are seeing some serious progress on the issue. Each year we hear the same old thing about Democrats wanting reform and Republicans wanting reform, but in the end nothing happens.  The health care system in this country is in serious need of reform and change.  Bravo that President Obama has finally entered the debate in a forceful and meaningful way.  
  2. 1 Sarah 10 Sep
    The President was highly partisan last night in his approach to this whole subject, leaving me with a very bad taste in my mouth.  This man is talking about the government taking over 1/3 of our economy and he is playing pure politics with it.  He did not offer one bit of detail last night about how he will pay for this, how coverage will be delivered, how it will be organized...nothing!  I wonder if he even knows that there are actually 2 different bills floating around Congress right now - both over 1000 pages in length.

    Joe Wilson was right, the President was completely false in his statement that illegal aliens will not receive free health care.  If you read the bill, it does not state anywhere how they will proceed with overseeing people who are actually coming into clinics and hospitals for care, and there is no doubt, when people without hear where they can be provided something for nothing, they will turn out in droves.  There is nothing in the bill about how they plan to step up the resources to cover the additional people added to be cared for, e.g. how many more doctors and nurses will we need?  Where are they going to come from?  There is a shortage already of medical personnel.

    The whole thing is a complete disaster waiting to happen.  And as it always goes, small business owners and the self-employed will bear most of the burden of this expensive and inefficient legislation.  It will bury many small business people; if they haven't been already.

    The plan must be stopped now.  A new approach of targeting the actual problems in the system needs to be initiated and only then can we hope to have real reform.