President Obama has had a month to listen to the American people on the topic of healthcare reform. For a month, thoughtful Americans have gone to town hall meetings in large numbers to oppose more spending, more government, and more Washington centered bureaucracy. For a month, the polls have gotten worse and worse for big spending, big deficit, high taxes, and big government. Tonight President Obama has an opportunity to show whether he’s listening to the majority of Americans or to his party’s radical leftwing. Here’s how you can grade the speech:Here’s a ten-point checklist from the Center for Health Transition to help you decide for yourself. Print it out and use it to judge the President’s speech tonight.
- In his proposals for reform, does the President include litigation reform, which 84% of Americans believe will help reduce costs and which is the number one goal of doctors in any health reform?
- Does he include a section on saving money by stopping payments to crooks who are bilking the taxpayers for $70-120 billion each year in Medicare and Medicaid fraud? For 88 percent of Americans, this is the first place they would look to find savings in our health care system. Is President Obama willing to look there?
- Does his speech reject higher taxes, which the vast majority of Americans believe will make the current economy even worse and increase unemployment even more?
- Does it reject all government rationing of health services which the American people have vocally opposed at town hall meetings across the country?
- Does it reject any government run, bureaucratic health plan?
- Is President Obama open to four or five bipartisan bills which could pass with big bipartisan majorities? Or does he insist on a single omnibus bill of 1000-plus pages like the one that failed when Mrs. Clinton tried to pass it in 1993-1994?
- Is he for sustaining the Senate rule of 60 votes to ensure a bill that has wide, bipartisan support? Or is he prepared to destroy long-standing Senate tradition and ram through a radical bill with 51 votes?
- Does President Obama give any indication he is for increasing the power, information and choice of the individual and their doctor or is he giving more power to the government?
- Does he focus on health, wellness, prevention, early detection and health management to avoid or control the severity of chronic diseases? Or does he spend his time talking only about acute care?
- Does his plan invest in science and technology in order to increase innovation and accelerate the discovery and adoption of new discoveries and breakthroughs in diseases such as Alzheimer’s, cancer and diabetes?
When the speech is over, look over your check list. Each “yes” is worth 10 percent. Each “no” is worth zero.