FROM DC: Same Old-Same Old from Obama tonight? UPDATED: Demonstration Projects are for suckers 

Excerpts from the prepared text of the President's speech tonight to the nation and Congress have been released by the White House and if these are indicative of the tone and level of detail that will be displayed throughout the address, it will likely come across as just more of the same old rhetoric, evasion, double-talk, and straw-man tactics we've seen for months from Obama.

Here's is the excerpt in which Obama provides the specific details of his plan:

 

"Here are the details that every American needs to know about this plan:
 
"First, if you are among the hundreds of millions of Americans who already have health insurance through your job, Medicare, Medicaid, or the VA, nothing in this plan will require you or your employer to change the coverage or the doctor you have.  Let me repeat this: nothing in our plan requires you to change what you have.  
 
"What this plan will do is to make the insurance you have work better for you.  Under this plan, it will be against the law for insurance companies to deny you coverage because of a pre-existing condition.  As soon as I sign this bill, it will be against the law for insurance companies to drop your coverage when you get sick or water it down when you need it most.  They will no longer be able to place some arbitrary cap on the amount of coverage you can receive in a given year or a lifetime.  We will place a limit on how much you can be charged for out-of-pocket expenses, because in the United States of America, no one should go broke because they get sick.  And insurance companies will be required to cover, with no extra charge, routine checkups and preventive care, like mammograms and colonoscopies – because there’s no reason we shouldn’t be catching diseases like breast cancer and colon cancer before they get worse.  That makes sense, it saves money, and it saves lives.    
 
"That’s what Americans who have health insurance can expect from this plan – more security and stability." 
 
Same-old, same-old. Looks like the White House wasn't listening during the Town Hall Rebellion of the August recess after all.
 
One thing to watch out for: Obama may well include a flowery offer to include something on medical malpractice caps in order to do something about frivolous law suits against doctors. It will be intended as bait to get another naive moderate Senate GOPer to "compromise" and support Obamacare. That will allow the White House and congressional Democrats to claim their reform has bipartisan support.
 
Then in the House-Senate conference, the provision will be dropped. And once again moderate GOPers will have served as enablers of the Democrats in building Leviathan even stronger, bigger, more expensive, more intrusive, and further from the constitutional republic we inherited from the Founders.
 
UPDATED: A medical malpractice demo project? 
 
President Obama did indeed try tonight in his address to Congress and the nation to appear as if he is genuinely interested in pursuing medical malpractice reform. But he took a slightly different tack than I expected, proposing a Demonstration Project "to see if it works."
 
But Demonstration Projects are like presidential and congressional commissions that are appointed to study a problem and then report back with recommendations. They study the problem, submit a fancy report and then are never heard from again.
 
Demonstration Projects are the same kind of dodge. They enable the politicians and bureaucrats to look like they are "doing something" when the reality is nothing, absolutely nothing, will change as a result of the Demonstration Project. In other words, the president was giving the rest of us the idiot's treatment.
 
Other than this unexpected offer to sell us the Brooklyn Bridge, Obama's speech was pretty much as expected - more of the same old/same old, mixed with a stronger than expected measure of partisan bile aimed at his critics and a vintage Obama flight into the rhetorical sky. Won't make much difference one way or the other in the ultimate outcome of the great health care reform debate of 2009.

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Mark Tapscott

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