Thursday, August 22, 2013

Obamacare: Rhetoric Versus Reality
His speech was a fine example, on the whole.
Of rhetoric, which the learn’d call rigmarole.
Lord Byron (1788-1824),  Don Juan

President Obama is a skilled rhetorician, perhaps the most gifted among recent presidents. 
Listen to Obama, and you would think he could make the seas and the middle class rise.   But, at the moment,  the middle class isn’t listening .  Gallup says Obama’s personal  approval rating for handling the economy  has fallen to  35%,  George Bush levels.  This may change, as the President embarks on his speaking tour, devoted to salvaging Obamacare and the economic fortunes of the middle class.
Listen  to Obama, and you would think Republicans offer no alternatives to Obamacare.  If the GOP had “some better ideas” than Obamacare,   Obama says he would be “happy to listen to them, but I haven’t heard anything  so far. ”  If the President would do less talking, as he as doing on this current campaign tour, and more listening,  he would know the following.
·         Senators Tom Coburn (R- Oklahoma) and Senator Mike Enzi (R-Wyoming), both doctors,  have long advocated making health plans portable across state lines and giving patients the same tax advantages as businesses in purchasing health care. 

·         Representative s Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee and Paul Ryan of Wisconsin advocate the same portability for health care as offered for automobile insurance policies.

·         Texas Republican Representative  Lamar Smith has spoken repeatedly of establishing  malpractice  tort reform at the federal level.

·         Texas Congressman Mike Burgess and Joe Baron has introduced bills to give transparency in pricing and medical outcomes.
·         Louisiana Representative Bill Cassidy, a physician,   has introduced a bill allowing Medicaid patient sto convert the value of their Medicaid benefit  to pay for private coverage.

·         Georgia Representative Tom Price, MD,   Tennessee’s Phil Roe, M.D., and Wyoming’s Mike Enzi, MD, have all backed legislation containing  comprehensive alternatives to Obamacare.

Maybe the President should listen to the words of these GOP Congressman, many of whom are physicians. Maybe shuld heed the words of Satchel Paige (1906-1982).  Satchel said, “The older I get the more I listen…You ain’t learning anything when you’re talking.”  

It’s impossible to listen and talk of the same time,  unless you are a “sophisticated rhetorician, inebriated with your own verbosity,” as Disraeli (1804-1881) said of Gladstone (1809-1898),  the English Prime Minister.

Tweet: Despite evidence to the contrary,  President Obama does not acknowledge the existence of multiple Republican alternatives to Obamacare.

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