Obama’s about-face

The President is ready to compromise on health care reform


After months of quarreling with Republicans over health care reform, White House Democrats may be ready to compromise. This weekend, President Barack Obama suggested that he would consider a proposal for reform that did not involve a public plan. “The public option, whether we have it or we don’t have it, is not the entirety of health care reform,” Obama explained at a Saturday town-hall meeting. “This is just one sliver of it, one aspect of it.” Given President Obama’s aggressive advocacy of a public option, the change is striking. But even Senate Democrats recognize that the choice is to budge now—or risk losing even more support. “The fact of the matter is, there are not the votes in the United States Senate for the public option,” said Democratic Senator Kent Conrad, of North Dakota. “There never have been. So to continue to chase that rabbit, I think, is just a wasted effort.” The Senate is now considering a private alternative to a government-run program: a non-profit co-op that would compete with existing insurers.

The New York Times

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Obama’s about-face

  1. Well if they got their act together on health care what would we use to feel superior to our American cousins. Aside from hockey, gay rights, and gun control, of course.

    • The fact that you need to assert your superiority is a problem.

      • not really.

    • Oh yeah, because the Canadian health system is SO fabulous! I laugh when I hear Canadians talking about the "free" healthcare here. Um…mine's not free – I pay a hefty tax bill every year to get it and then it takes years to find a doctor taking patients. Canada and its citizens should not be feeling superior to the US over healthcare. Besides, if you haven't lived in the US and experienced the health system down there, then you really can't know what it's like anyway. (For the record, I have lived there and experienced the healthcare system.)

      • "Oh yeah, because the Canadian health system is SO fabulous!"

        It would probably be a very difficult task explaining the negatives of Canada's universal health-care to these folks.

        • It's too bad the return on investment in treating the poor is so low. Otherwise, much of the right in the US could feel something for those people.

          Feel something other than disdain I mean…

      • The Canadian system is far from perfect, but we pay thousands of dollars less per year per person than the US does for roughly equivalent care that is available for everyone regardless of circumstances. Saying our system is superior than that of the US isn't the same as saying our system is "fabulous", merely better.

        Geez, it's like arguing that because 2 is a small number, it must be less than 1… never mind that 1 is a smaller number.

  2. Change!….um…. Compromise!…..um…. Capitulation!

    Well, I guess change is over-rated, besides, it was just a fun slogan to get everyone excited. Did anyone really expect anything different?

    • Isn't it more like Change vs. change?

      He proposed Change and now is agreeing on change.

      The millions of uninsured working poor would take either at this point I'm sure.

  3. I understand those who bemoan the fact that a public option is unlikely to proceed, but I am completely baffled by those who thought it would pass in the first place (a.k.a. Obama and his political team). They seem remarkably unaware of just how conservative the US actually is.

    Perhaps they've been limiting their reading to the mainstream media. That could explain the distorted reality they inhabit.

  4. Our family has an income of about $145,000, the tax rate for us is about 16% more than the tax rate in the U S, that translates into almost an extra $2,000 per month in taxes. For half that amount our family could have a pretty gold plated U S type health plan. We as Canadians really have to stop believing the propaganda about how great we have it health care wise. Last time I waited at the Calgary Children's Hospital with my 11year old daughter who had appendicitis, we waited in the emergency ward for 6 hours without seeing ANYONE, nor did anyone move out of the waiting room at all for at least 5 of those hours. For what we pay in tax I think we as Canadians deserve better. I would love to see some fat cat political type put up with that kind of B S without jumping onto a jet and heading for the nearest Mayo clinic while giving lip service to the idea of improving our system. The Americans need all the facts, and I for one would not trade their system with all its warts for what we put up with.

    • Most Canadian or American families don't earn $145,000 a year. Yes, the American system is wonderful if you can pay for it. Besides, the gap in the tax rate isn't just due to universal health care – the US government actually pays just a tad less per person for health care compared to the Canadian government.

      Yes, our system is in need of some serious improvements – a greater push for speed and efficiency, a fair number more doctors and some more infrastructure are desperately needed. However, for the average Canadian family, one that lives on half your family's income, our system is cheaper, farier and less stressful than the Amerian system, despite the long wait times.

      Lastly, a question for you – I'm sure you were understandably frustrated and upset when you had to wait so long with your daughter in the ER waiting room – was she alright afterwards?

  5. Um, no, you cannot have a "pretty good" plan for half that, at least not in the states I am familiar with. It's a mimimum $1200 a month (in Minnesota at least) for "pretty good" coverage for a family of 4 and that's not including various co-pay fees, sur-charges and deductables. Add those in and the $1200 price tag jumps pretty fast. Granted, a big part of that is over-regulation on the part of many states. In other states it may well be much cheaper. In Minnesota for example, health insurers are forced to cover hair transplants if a doctor signs a letter stating that baldness is affecting a man's self-esteem and mental health. When states pass laws forcing insurers to cover certain items, it makes it impossible to get good, basic catastrophic insurance, which would be quite cheap otherwise.