"Some of people’s concerns have grown out of bogus claims spread by those whose only agenda is to kill reform at any cost. The best example is the claim, made not just by radio and cable talk show hosts, but prominent politicians, that we plan to set up panels of bureaucrats with the power to kill off senior citizens. Such a charge would be laughable if it weren’t so cynical and irresponsible. It is a lie, plain and simple."So instead of offering evidence that there will be no bureaucratic panels to ration health care under his plan, the president resorts to name-calling, the standard fallback postion of the leftist when he has no compelling argument to offer.
"Bob Bennett (RINO-UT) was the only Republican who stood up and clapped when Barack Obama bashed Sarah Palin over the death panels. That jackass should be taken out in a primary."The former governor has replied to Obama's remarks to Congress, again, on her Facebook Notes page:
After all the rhetoric is put aside, one principle ran through President Obama’s speech tonight: that increased government involvement in health care can solve its problems.In Palin's previous "Response to the White House" posted on her Facebook Notes page Wednesday afternoon, she mentioned that the White House's talking points prior to Obama's Wednesday night speech left several of arguments unanswered. Did the president answer them in his speech? Not really...
Many Americans fundamentally disagree with this idea. We know from long experience that the creation of a massive new bureaucracy will not provide us with “more stability and security,” but just the opposite. It's hard to believe the President when he says that this time he and his team of bureaucrats have finally figured out how to do things right if only we’ll take them at their word.
Our objections to the Democrats’ health care proposals are not mere “bickering” or “games.” They are not an attempt to “score short term political points.” And it’s hard to listen to the President lecture us not to use “scare tactics” when in the next breath he says that “more will die” if his proposals do not pass.
In his speech the President directly responded to concerns I’ve raised about unelected bureaucrats being given power to make decisions affecting life or death health care matters. He called these concerns “bogus,” “irresponsible,” and “a lie” -- so much for civility. After all the name-calling, though, what he did not do is respond to the arguments we’ve made, arguments even some of his own supporters have agreed have merit.
In fact, after promising to “make sure that no government bureaucrat .... gets between you and the health care you need,” the President repeated his call for an Independent Medicare Advisory Council -- an unelected, largely unaccountable group of bureaucrats charged with containing Medicare costs. He did not disavow his own statement that such a group, working outside of “normal political channels,” should guide decisions regarding that “huge driver of cost ... the chronically ill and those toward the end of their lives....” He did not disavow the statements of his health care advisor, Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, and continuing to pay his salary with taxpayer dollars proves a commitment to his beliefs. The President can keep making unsupported assertions, but until he directly responds to the arguments I’ve made, I’m going to call him out too.
It was heartening to hear the President finally recognize that tort reform is an important part of any solution. But this concession shouldn’t lead us to take our eye off the ball: the Democrats’ proposals will not reduce costs, and they will not deliver better health care. It’s this kind of “healthy skepticism of government” that truly reflects a “concern and regard for the plight of others.” We can’t wait to hear the details on that; we look forward to working with you on tort reform.
Finally, President Obama delivered an offhand applause line tonight about the cost of the War on Terror. As we approach the anniversary of the September 11th attacks and honor those who died that day and those who have died since in the War on Terror, in order to secure our freedoms, we need to remember their sacrifices and not demonize them as having had too high a price tag.
Remember, Mr. President, elected officials work for the people. Forcing a conclusion in order to claim a “victory” is not healthy for our country. We hear you say government isn’t always the answer; now hear us -- that’s what we’ve been saying all along.
- Sarah Palin
Instead of addressing former Governor Palin's argument that all individuals should get the same tax benefits received by those who get coverage through their employers, Obama said:
"For those individuals and small businesses who still cannot afford the lower-priced insurance available in the exchange, we will provide tax credits, the size of which will be based on your need."Based on your need? Hmm, that sounds familiar. Ah, yes. Karl Marx, from his Critique of the Gotha Program, 1875:
"From each according to his ability, to each according to his need[s]."Although Obama didn't use the words "tort reform" in his speech, he partially addressed the Palin point on that issue in his speech by saying that he would revive Bush administration demonstration projects in individual states to "test" the issue of doctors having to practice defensive medicine. He seemed to downplay tort reform somewhat by saying that he didn't believe it was a "silver bullet," but he did admit that going forward on the demo projects was a good idea.
The president did not address her point that Americans should be allowed to buy insurance across state lines, nor did he respond to her argument, referenced to the the Nyce/Schieber study which concluded that wages will fall if the government expands coverage without reducing health care inflation rates.
Finally, Obama never adequately explained how he would pay for his plan. Eliminating waste, fraud and abuse will help in that respect, but it won't even come close to paying the bill. Comprehensive tort reform would go a long way toward financing the president's program, but Obama is talking demonstration projects in specific states here, not the kind of tort reform which should be implemented before embarking on a half-baked health care reform plan, the details of which remain nebulous. The "plan" is not really a plan at all.
Bottom line: Obama did not meet Sarah Palin's challenge to fully address her arguments, but instead called her and a number of distinguished Americans liars. That's not how you make a big sale to the American people, Mr. President.
Post Script: Here's Erick Erickson's critique of the speech posted at RedState.com.
Post Mortem: Greta and Rick Santorum come down on Sarah Palin's side of the argument (h/t for the video to: Freedom's Lighthouse):
Related: Andrew Malcolm also has the full text of the Republican reply (delivered by Rep. Charles Boustany) to the president's speech here.