Grading the President

by Ben Cohen

Rolling Stone asks Michael Moore, David Gergen, and Jospeh Stiglitz to grade President Obama on his performance so far. Here they are on health care:


Victory Extended health insurance to 4 million middle-class



Blunder Framed universal health care as key to curbing costs

— only to have the Congressional Budget Office counter that

reform will balloon federal spending by $240billion.


Change Cut deals to slash drug prices for seniors by

$80billion and hospital costs by $100billion. Earmarked $19billion

in stimulus funds to computerize medical records and $21billion to

extend insurance for 7million unemployed. Empowered FDA to regulate

tobacco. Lifted Bush restrictions on stem-cell research; made

morning-after pill available to 17-year-olds.


Signs Deal to cut drug prices doesn’t cover generics. Has

waffled on public option to compete with private insurers. “If the

Senate passes a bill without a public option, then it’s a worthless

bill,” warns Howard Dean. “Just passing any bill will not be

victory, and it’s not reform.”


Moment Targeting on-the-fence members of his own party with

“Call Your Senators” ads demanding reform. Needs to Stand Up To

AFSCME. The union is roadblocking the easiest way to fund reform:

taxing employer-provided health benefits to the wealthiest

Americans. Such a tax, according to the Congressional Budget

Office, could generate as much as $500billion a year.


Say “He thinks several chess moves ahead,” says Theda

Skocpol, a Harvard professor who studied the failure of Hillary

Clinton’s reform effort. “Obama has proved himself much more

strategic than the Clintons were.”



Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.