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.