Reading Between The Lines
I watched the President's press conference on health care last night. Afterwards, Bill O'Reilly came on and went wild. "What did he say? Did you understand what he was saying?", O'Reilly asked the reporters and commentators. "This guy was all over the place! Did you hear any details?", he continued.
Obviously, Obama's presentation style drives people like Bill O'Reilly crazy. O'Reilly is the original "No-Spin" guy, and Obama is his antithesis. Obama is about as vague and elusive as you can get. As I posted elsewhere, Obama uses a form of language which has been described as "slippery, sleight of mouth." He deflects tough questions, obfuscates issues, glosses over negatives, diverts attention, sets up straw men, and rambles on in an effort to sound intelligent, delay more tough questions, and perhaps to think up a good response.
When Dick Morris came on, Bill O'Reilly asked him too: "Did you understand what this guy was talking about?" Morris smiled and said, "Yes, but you have to read between the lines." Morris is absolutely correct. It's not so much what Obama says that matters, but what he doesn't say. Unless you read between the lines, then it is difficult to understand what Obama is saying. Obama does this precisely for the purpose of obfuscation. He sounds like he is saying one thing, but really means something else.
In an effort then to "read between the lines", here is my interpretation of what the President said yesterday in his opening remarks. Obama's actual words are in quotes. My translations and/or extrapolations follow in the brackets...
"This is not just about the 47 million Americans who have no health insurance..."
[That's only for starters. First of all, we want the taxpayers to pick up the tab for those 47 million uninsured Americans, which includes 12 million illegal aliens.]
"Reform is about every American who has ever feared that they may lose their coverage if they become too sick, or lose their job, or change their job..."
[Therefore, the government will come to the rescue and guarantee an individual's God-given right to health care -- along with life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.]
"It's about every small business that has been forced to lay off employees or cut back on their coverage because it became too expensive..."
[That's why our new government health care plan will be cheaper than private insurance, and small businesses that can't afford to provide health insurance can dump their employees into our government plan, thus increasing our power and authority.]
"And it's about the fact that the biggest driving force behind our federal deficit is the skyrocketing cost of Medicare and Medicaid..."
[We need to get costs under control, and we think the best way to do that is through government-rationed care.]
"If you already have health insurance, the reform we're proposing will provide you with more security and more stability..."
[But at a price of course. If you choose to keep your present health insurance, the additional burdens our government will impose on your insurance company will mean higher prices and therefore higher premiums for you or your employer. We might even impose a tax on you if your private plan exceeds a certain value.]
"It will keep government out of health care decisions, giving you the option to keep your insurance if you're happy with it..."
[But let me be clear, the ONLY health care decision we're talking about here is whether you choose to keep your private insurance or go to the public option. We're NOT talking about the health care decisions that are currently being made between you and your doctor. We can't control costs if you and your doctor decide what's best. We'll do that for you. When I say "decisions" (plural), I'm referring to the single decision of millions of people.]
"It will prevent insurance companies from dropping your coverage if you get too sick..."
[Thus raising the cost of private insurance plans and making them less attractive.]
"It will give you the security of knowing that if you lose your job, move, or change your job, you will still be able to have coverage..."
[In our government plan, of course.]
"It will limit the amount your insurance company can force you to pay for your medical costs out of your own pocket..."
[Which will either: 1) raise prices, thereby increasing premiums on you or your employer, or 2) force the reduction of benefits and services (i.e., rationing).]
"And it will cover preventive care like check-ups and mammograms that save lives and money..."
[But God help you if you get sick. That might not be covered.]
"If you don't have health insurance, or are a small business looking to cover your employees, you'll be able to choose a quality, affordable health plan..."
[In fact, you'll not only be "able" to choose a plan, you'll be MANDATED to choose a plan. And if you don't choose a plan, we will impose a stiff fine on you to give you some "incentive". Of course, our public option will be the MOST affordable, so you'll be forced to take ours. And it will have a "quality" all right, but notice that I didn't say "high quality" or "best quality". Heck, it might even be "low quality". That's a quality, isn't it?]
"you'll be able to choose a quality, affordable health plan through a health insurance exchange – a marketplace that promotes choice and competition..."
[And of course the competition will be rigged in our favor. We're out to be the cheapest one of the bunch, because we want your business!]
"Finally, no insurance company will be allowed to deny you coverage because of a pre-existing medical condition..."
[Which will again raise prices and make private insurance plans uncompetitive. Remember, if our costs get too high, we can always raise taxes or print money. The private companies can't do that. Awww... too bad.]
"I have also pledged that health insurance reform will not add to our deficit over the next decade – and I mean it..."
[Just like I meant it when I said I could never disown Jeremiah Wright. Or when I said we would put an end to earmarks. Or when I said all legislation would be posted on the Internet for 48 hours before I sign it. Or when I said we would work with Republicans in a bipartisan manner.]
"I inherited a $1.3 trillion deficit..."
[Errr... Let me rephrase that. I added $1.3 trillion to the $569 billion deficit Bush left me.]
"[Deficit spending] will not happen with health insurance reform. It will be paid for..."
[Either through new tax increases or by cuts to Medicare and Medicaid.]
"Already, we have estimated that two-thirds of the cost of reform can be paid for by reallocating money that is simply being wasted in federal health care programs..."
[We will end Medicare as you know it, and force everyone onto our new rationed-care program.]
"This includes over one hundred billion dollars in unwarranted subsidies that go to insurance companies as part of Medicare..."
[See how easy that was? I just say it and it will be so.]
"subsidies that do nothing to improve care for our seniors..."
[Of course our plan will do nothing to improve care for seniors, so there is no net difference.]
"And I'm pleased that Congress has already embraced these proposals..."
[Well, the die-hard liberals anyway. Too bad most Republicans and Blue Dogs aren't quite there yet.]
"While they are currently working through proposals to finance the remaining costs, I continue to insist that health reform not be paid for on the backs of middle-class families..."
[Look out wealthy Americans. Bend over. Here it comes.]
"Our proposals would change incentives so that doctors and nurses are free to give patients the best care, not just the most expensive care..."
[Where the word "best" is defined as "cheapest", or "not being wasted on the elderly", or "best in the government's opinion". Definitions are important you know.]
"That's why the nation's largest organizations representing doctors and nurses have embraced our plan..."
[Of course, we won't talk about the fact that when the A.M.A. endorsed the House bill, thousands of A.M.A. members went wild and threatened to cancel their membership. Or that the American Hospital Association is urging hospital executives to lobby against it. Or that several state medical societies denounced the plan.]
"We also want to create an independent group of doctors and medical experts who are empowered to eliminate waste and inefficiency in Medicare on an annual basis..."
[In other words, a new government bureaucracy that will get the health care rationing underway and start making decisions about which tests, services and drugs you won't be able to receive any more.]
"a proposal that could save even more money and ensure the long-term financial health of Medicare..."
[By imposing caps, cutting services and eliminating choices.]
"Overall, our proposals will improve the quality of care for our seniors..."
[Not in the opinion of seniors mind you, but in the opinion of government bureaucrats.]
"and save them thousands of dollars on prescription drugs..."
[Because they won't be able to get the drugs, or they'll be forced to take cheaper generics or less effective alternatives.]
"which is why the AARP has endorsed our reform efforts..."
[Or then again, maybe it's because AARP receives millions in federal funds, and hopes to get even more by becoming a vendor under our government plan. See AARP Sells Out Seniors.]
"So even though we still have a few issues to work out, what's remarkable at this point is not how far we have left to go – it's how far we have already come..."
[In turning America into a socialist dictatorship.]
"I understand how easy it is for this town to become consumed in the game of politics – to turn every issue into a running tally of who's up and who's down..."
[Why heck. Rahm Emanuel and I do that every day!]
"So let me be clear: This isn't about me..."
[Well... OK. It IS about me. I want to look like I've accomplished something here in Washington even if it's bad for America. I want to take credit for the hard work of others. I want the glory. I want to transfer wealth to the poor so that they'll love me. But I can't just come out and say that now, can I? I have to appear humble. No really! You can applaud now if you want to. I can handle it. Thank you. Thank you. I'm great, aren't I?]
"I have great health insurance, and so does every Member of Congress..."
[And frankly, we don't care what kind of crap everybody else gets. We're covered and we've made sure that this House bill contains a provision exempting us from going onto this public plan that we're forcing down your throats.]
And this was only his opening remarks. The questions and answers were also illuminating, but I haven't seen a full transcript yet. I may do another article on those.