Tuesday, August 11, 2009

President Obama campaign’s in Portsmouth today

This afternoon President Obama held a town hall meeting in Portsmouth, NH on the topic of healthcare. Prior to the meeting Robert Gibbs scolded the media for blending the message on health care as they report the uproar that is taking place at other town halls. The Obama administration claimed that those in the audience was not pre-screened nor will the questions be pre-screened.

President Obama started the town hall thanking several people from the governor of New Hampshire to the mayor of Portsmouth. After that President Obama went into what has taken place and attempted to debunk the rumors that persist. President Obama said that "under the reform we are proposing, if you like your doctor you can keep your doctor, if you like your health insurance you can keep your insurance. I don't think Washington buerocrats should be meddling nor do I think insurance buerocrats should be meddling either" which was given a rousing applause.

Peter Schmidt, a state representative from Dover, asked President Obama that if "Republicans do not make a reasonable effort at bipartisanship are you willing to pass health care reform without them?" Mr. Schmidt had mentioned that he was under the Medicare flag. President Obama put this question to the group, "If we can get something right like Medicare than there should be confidence that government can offer health insurance." President Obama went onto say that the public option will "keep insurance companies honest as long as it is not subsidized with taxpayer money" and then moved onto the next question while never answering the original question of moving health care reform forward without bipartisan support.

During President Obama's speech he said that "there has been a long and vigorous debate about [health care} and there should be." Really? I thought there was a deadline set for August to pass a bill. Why now is the president changing his tune and welcomes a "long and vigorous" debate? President Obama said that "I will not sign a bill that will add to the deficit or national debt." To achieve this President Obama acknowledged that there is about a $30 billion gap year over year in the savings gained through correcting inefficiencies. To close this gap, President Obama would cap the deduction one can take that makes over $250K to the levels of someone in the "28% tax bracket". While the additional take income may assist in closing the gap, it creates a bigger problem. Charities and other philanthropy efforts have been hurt by the economic downturn will only continue to suffer as one of the deduction caps will be to donations given.

The President did not have a signal tough question nor did he experience the uproars that have taken place at other town hall meetings. I did not expect to see any uproar because those that oppose the public option and government paid abortions do respect the Office of the Presidency regardless of how they feel about Obama the man. One may argue that the Michael Land, a self admitted government skeptic who reported himself to the White House, question was the toughest when asked "Why have you not chastised Congress for having two forms of health care?" Prior to getting to ask his question President Obama interrupted him to note the White House website is meant for people to "forward us the email and we will answer the email". President Obama did answer Mr. Land's question by saying, 'If we do not have health care reform the gap will be as wide or wider than it is now" when comparing private citizen insurance options and those in government.

In the end the entire scene looked like a campaign stop. This time around it was not Sen. Obama and Sen. Clinton; it was President Obama and Public Option. According to reports 80% of those attending received tickets via a lottery. Even if that was the case, the crowd shown within camera view was very much in favor of Obama which was evident when a change of "Yes we can" broke out after the president speech and prior to the question and answer period. Americans, pro-Obama plan and anti-Obama plan, agree that changes need to take place within health care. It is the details and the method of payment that have many in opposition.