Trying to regain momentum on the health care issue, the president spoke for more than 45 minutes, way too long, but he's obviously feeling passionate on the issue. The back story is that Mr. Obama was taken by surprise when millions of Americans objected to the high cost of government-run health care, and many of us reject the vision that bureaucrats will make medical decisions that affect our lives. Can't have that.
As far as cost is concerned, Mr. Obama says he won't spend any additional money on health care. Expense will be made up by reducing waste and inefficiency in the health care industry.
Well, I hope he has a magic wand, and I'm not being sarcastic. But if it could have been done, it would have been done, all right? It's not that easy to do what he says he is going to do.
Now the president also stayed completely away from the feds dictating medical decisions.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: To my progressive friends, I would remind you that for decades the driving idea behind reform has been to end insurance company abuses and make coverage available for those without it. The public option, the public option is only a means to that end. We should remain open to other ideas that accomplish our ultimate goal.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
All right. So the public option, there it goes right out the window. And the government-mandated day-to-day care is not going to happen.
So the president was also very clear about the insurance companies. They are going to be forced to accept Americans who are ill and they can't boot you off the policy if you get sick. That's good. "Talking Points" likes that.
But the president goes further. He wants to order the insurance companies to cover certain procedures like mammograms and colonoscopies. Now we are getting into the nanny state stuff. If the feds have the power to run private health care industries, some of them are going to get out of the business, which is what the liberals want.
However, I like the idea of a national insurance marketplace where companies compete nationwide and offer lower premiums based upon more customers. I like that idea. But I'm not sure how it's going to work without the feds ordering the companies to do stuff.
Are you getting the picture here?
President Obama is correct in trying to downsize medical insurance premiums, and increased competition is the way to do that, not government meddling. There should be, however, federal oversight on health insurance companies. They must play fair or get fined big. But the rules must be crystal clear.
And finally it may be unconstitutional to force Americans to buy health care insurance, although Mr. Obama wants that and compares it to mandatory auto insurance. With auto insurance you have a machine that can do damage. It could be unconstitutional to force you to buy this stuff. But if Obamacare passes, you will be on somebody's policy. That is certain.
And that's "The Memo."
Pinheads & Patriots
At the Venice Film Festival in Italy, actor George Clooney was confronted by an enthusiastic fan.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am gay, George, and...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here it comes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... I think I'm in love with you! George, please, take me! Choose me, George! Please! Please choose me! George, may I kiss you please? Just one kiss. Please!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: George, one kiss!
GEORGE CLOONEY, ACTOR: It's hard when you take a big chance and it doesn't really work. It's always embarrassing when you take one real swing for the fences and it just falls flat. It's a good try though.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
So to speak. And for handling it smoothly, Mr. Clooney is a patriot.
On the pinhead front, actor Charlie Sheen, he's a bit out there on political matters. He continues to believe 9/11 was an American conspiracy.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
CHARLIE SHEEN, ACTOR: America deserves better. I mean, come on. Come on, people. The 9/11 Commission report is a blatant work of manipulation, secrecy and fiction. Come on. The time is now. Demand the truth.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
Mr. Sheen should get off it. His theory's offensive to those who lost loved ones on 9/11, and he is a pinhead.