Thursday, September 3, 2009

NYT: More Obama, Less Ambition in Healthcare Reform

More Obama
The New York Times reports that President Obama will become much more involved in healthcare debates. For most of August Obama was mysteriously silent while conservatives offered a bucket of lies and distortions regarding various Democratic reform proposals.

According to the NYT article, Obama will deliver a speech to Congress outlining his agenda next Wednesday evening. He will also travel to Ohio to address a Labor Day event organized by the AFL-CIO, which is a strong supporter of Obama and healthcare reform.

Less Ambition?
Although President Obama will become more visible, the NYT reports that he will indicate that Congressional Democrats could slice some controversial elements from their proposals, including the intentionally distorted provision that provides coverage for "end-of-life" counseling between medical providers and patients.

Many medical professional groups, including the American Medical Association, strongly endorse end-of-life counseling and believe that the current level of such counseling is inadequate. Providing coverage could incentivize medical providers to help their patients make important decisions while they are competent to do so -- not when they are incapacitated and unable to do so.

Throwing out the beneficial provision because Neanderthals have distorted it is a terrible reminder of the country's acute fear of honesty. The same nutjobs who think that informing patients about living wills and medical directives constitutes a death panel also believed that Saddam Hussein was running across the globe looking for Uranium to add to his nonexistent arsenal of WMDs. These same people sacrificed the lives of thousands of Americans to uphold a lie. So, it is easy to see why they would sacrifice good medical decisions to support another lie.

Although Obama is willing to toss out these innocuous provisions, the NYT article reports that "for now" he remains committed to universal coverage and to a public plan. CNN, however, reports that Obama is talking with moderate Senator Olympia Snow regarding a compromise position that would drop the public plan. Stay tuned.

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