The president just finished a rather unusual Friday 4 p.m. statement – without taking questions. It was on healthcare, and it again demonstrated his ability to take the long view. More important, it was a demonstration to the public of his ability to do just that. It positions him as someone who cares about the future and not about political points.
Obama has a knack for demonstrating to the public that he is thoughtful. This statement was exactly that. He took, in his words, “the long view” of the healthcare debate. Just knowing someone is taking that view reassures the public.
He first focused on the idea that we have a consensus that something that needs to be done.
He then ticked off those who support him by listing the organizations that have either agreed to concessions or who have endorsed his plans – the pharmaceutical Industry, hospitals, nurses and the AMA. What that does is reassure people that “your doctor is behind me.”
He also talked about the need to improve “preventive and wellness programs.” Which is a way of saying, “Americans, you need to take responsibility for your health, without sounding like a fitness nut.
He used words like “stability and security,” which can resonate in these uncertain times.
He then talked about keeping coverage even if you lose your job and not losing coverage for preexisting conditions. Those are two key points.
He then addressed how we pay for it. He discussed not adding to our deficit, paying for immediate changes and slowing long-term health costs. He repeated that point, and sure enough, the news program I was watching, Bloomberg, emphasized that point.
He made a plea for controlling costs by having independent doctors and others over seeing costs. Which means taking Medicare payments control away from Congress.
He finished by saying, “Now is not the time to slow down” on healthcare reform. If we step back, we we assigning our children to crushing deficits and increased healthcare costs.” It’s always a good idea to frame the debate with cherub faces.
He also said that “If we don’t get this down, no one insurance is secure.” Which polls suggest the public understands. Even if they like their current insurance, they know we have a problem.
Sure enough, the Bloomberg anchor, led with “Sounding confident, Obama…” and then mentioned the support he has among key players.
This guy is as good if not better than Reagan.