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View Diary: Um, Mr. Tapper? (Updated) (134 comments)

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  •  In answer to your questions: (5+ / 0-)
    1.  No.  The question itself was idiotic, but what he writes will also be idiotic.  Did you see the question he asked at the press conference?  mcjoan paraphrased it, but it was a doozy.
    1.  No, I'm not saying confrontational questions are bad things.
    •  NPkitty has my agreement ... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      enough already, Nightprowlkitty

      ... on both points.

      I heard that dumbass projection with my own ears.

      I heard NO actual question from Tapper.

      ... public service is a privilege. It's not about advantaging yourself, it's not about advancing your friends or your corporate clients.

      by MT Spaces on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 09:37:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  transcript (0+ / 0-)

      Instead of jumping in with something mcjoan paraphrased on the fly, why didn't you wait until the transcript was available and post exactly what went down? Saying his question was "idiotic" is just an easy way out.

      I know Tapper is persona non gratis around here because he does ask the tough questions but it's supposed to be a reality based community, is it not?

      Jake Tapper.

      Q: Thank you, Mr. President. Before I ask my question, I'm wondering if you could actually answer David's. Is the public plan non-negotiable?

      THE PRESIDENT: That's your question. (Laughter.)

      Q: Well, you didn't answer --

      THE PRESIDENT: You think you're going to -- are you the ombudsman for the White House press corps? (Laughter.) What's your -- is that your question? (Laughter.)

      Q: Then I have a two-part question. (Laughter.) Is the public plan non-negotiable? And while I appreciate your Spock-like language about the logic of the health care plan, the public plan, it does seem logical to a lot of people that if the government is offering a cheaper health care plan, then lots of employers will want to have their employees covered by that cheaper plan, which will not have to be for profit, unlike private plans, and may possibly benefit from some government subsidies, who knows. And then their employees would be signed up for this public plan, which would violate what you're promising the American people, that they will not have to change health care plans if they like the plan they have.

      THE PRESIDENT: I got you. You're pitching, I'm catching. I got the question. First of all, was the reference to Spock -- is that a crack on my ears? (Laughter.) All right, I just want to make sure. No?

      Q: I would never make fun of your ears, sir. (Laughter.)

      THE PRESIDENT: In answer to David's question, which you co-opted, we are still early in this process, so we have not drawn lines in the sand other than that reform has to control costs and that it has to provide relief to people who don't have health insurance or are underinsured. Those are the broad parameters that we've discussed.

      There are a whole host of other issues where ultimately I may have a strong opinion, and I will express those to members of Congress as this is shaping up. It's too early to say that. Right now I will say that our position is that a public plan makes sense.

      Now, let me go to the broader question you made about the public plan. As I said before, I think that there is a legitimate concern if the public plan was simply eating off the taxpayer trough, that it would be hard for private insurers to complete. If, on the other hand, the public plan is structured in such a way where they've got to collect premiums and they've got to provide good services, then if what the insurance companies are saying is true, that they're doing their best to serve their customers, that they're in the business of keeping people well and giving them security when they get sick, they should be able to compete.

      Now, if it turns out that the public plan, for example, is able to reduce administrative costs significantly, then you know what? I'd like insurance companies to take note and say, hey, if the public plan can do that, why can't we? And that's good for everybody in the system. And I don't think there should be any objection to that.

      Now, by the way, I should point out that part of the reform that we've suggested is that if you want to be a private insurer as part of the exchange, as part of this marketplace, this menu of options that people can choose from, we're going to have some different rules for all insurance companies -- one of them being that you can't preclude people from getting health insurance because of a pre-existing condition, you can't cherry pick and just take the healthiest people.

      So there are going to be some ground rules that are going to apply to all insurance companies, because I think the American people understand that, too often, insurance companies have been spending more time thinking about how to take premiums and then avoid providing people coverage than they have been thinking about how can we make sure that insurance is there, health care is there when families need it.

      But I'm confident that if -- I take those advocates of the free market to heart when they say that the free market is innovative and is going to compete on service and is going to compete on their ability to deliver good care to families. And if that's the case then this just becomes one more option. If it's not the case then I think that that's something that the American people should know.

      Q: I'm sorry, but what about keeping your promise to the American people that they won't have to change plans even if employers --

      THE PRESIDENT: Well, no, no, I mean -- when I say if you have your plan and you like it and your doctor has a plan, or you have a doctor and you like your doctor that you don't have to change plans, what I'm saying is the government is not going to make you change plans under health reform.

      Now, are there going to be employers right now -- assuming we don't do anything -- let's say that we take the advice of some folks who are out there and say, oh, this is not the time to do health care, we can't afford it, it's too complicated, let's take our time, et cetera. So let's assume that nothing happened. I can guarantee you that there's a possibility for a whole lot of Americans out there that they're not going to end up having the same health care they have, because what's going to happen is, as costs keep on going up, employers are going to start making decisions: We've got to raise premiums on our employees; in some cases, we can't provide health insurance at all.

      And so there are going to be a whole set of changes out there. That's exactly why health reform is so important.

      There you have it. Parse away.

      "I have lived with several Zen masters -- all of them cats." - Eckhart Tolle

      by catnip on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 10:02:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Wrong press conference. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Nightprowlkitty, virginwoolf

        This is not from tonight.

      •  WAIT! Wrong presser... (2+ / 0-)

        transcript

        (My head thought it was still June...)

        Jake?

        QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. President.

        You said earlier that you wanted to tell the American people what's in it for them. How will their family benefit from the health care reform? But experts say that in addition to the benefits that you're pushing, there is going to have to be some sacrifice in order for there to be true cost-cutting measures, such as Americans giving up tests, referrals, choice, end-of-life care.

        When you describe health care reform, you don't -- understandably, you don't talk about the sacrifices that Americans might have to make. Do you think -- do you accept the premise that other than some tax increases on the wealthiest Americans, the American people are going to have to give anything up in order for this to happen?

        OBAMA: They're going to have to give up paying for things that don't make them healthier. And I -- speaking as an American, I think that's the kind of change you want.

        Look, if, right now, hospitals and doctors aren't coordinating enough to have you just take one test when you come because of an illness, but instead have you take one test, then you go to another specialist, you take a second test, then you go to another specialist, you take a third test, and nobody is bothering to send the first test that you took, same test, to the next doctors, you're wasting money.

        You may not see it, because if you have health insurance right now, it's just being sent to the insurance company. But that's raising your premiums. It's raising everybody's premiums. And that money, one way or another, is coming out of your pocket. Although we are also subsidizing some of that because there are tax breaks for health care.

        So, not only is it costing you money in terms of higher premiums, it's also costing you as a taxpayer. Now, I want to change that. Every American should want to change that. Why would we want to pay for things that don't work? That aren't making us healthier?

        And here's what I'm confident about. If doctors and patients have the best information about what works and what doesn't, then they're going to want to pay for what works.

        If there's a blue pill and a red pill, and the blue pill is half the price of the red pill and works just as well, why not pay half price for the thing that's going to make you well?

        But the system right now doesn't incentivize that. Those are the changes that are going to be needed -- that we're going to need to make inside the system. It will require, I think, patients to -- as well as doctors, as well as hospitals, to be more discriminating consumers.

        But I think that's a good thing, because ultimately we can't afford this. We just can't afford what we're doing right now.

        And -- and -- and just to -- to raise a broader issue that I think has colored how we look at health care reform, let me just talk about deficit and debt, because part of what's been happening in this debate is the American people are understandably queasy about the huge deficits and debt that we're facing right now.

        And the feeling is, all right, we had the bank bailout, we had the recovery package, we had the supplemental, we've got the budget, we're seeing numbers, trillions here and trillions there. And so I think, legitimately, people are saying, "Look, we're in a recession. I'm cutting back. I'm having to give up things. And yet all I see is government spending more and more money."

        And that argument, I think, has been used effectively by people who don't want to change health care to suggest that somehow this is one more government program. So I just want to address that point very quickly.

        First of all, let's understand that, when I came in, we had a $1.3 trillion deficit -- annual deficit that we had already inherited. We had to immediately move forward with a stimulus package because the American economy had lost trillions of dollars of wealth. Consumers had lost through their 401(k)s, through home values, you name it, they had lost trillions of dollars. That all just went away.

        That was the day I was sworn in; it was already happening. And we had 700,000 jobs that were being lost. So we felt it was very important to put in place a recovery package that would help stabilize the economy.

        Then we had to pass a budget by law, and our budget had a 10-year projection. And I just want everybody to be clear about this. If we had done nothing, if you had the same, old budget as opposed to the changes we made in our budget, you'd have a $9.3 trillion deficit over the next 10 years. Because of the changes we've made, it's going to be $7.1 trillion.

        Now, that's not good, but it's $2.2 trillion less than it would have been if we had the same policies in place when we came in.

        So the reason I point this out is to say that the debt and the deficit are deep concerns of mine. I am very worried about federal spending. And the steps that we've taken so far have reduced federal spending over the next 10 years by $2.2 trillion.

        It's not enough. But in order for us to do more, we're not only going to have to eliminate waste in the system -- and, by the way, we had a big victory yesterday by eliminating a weapons program, the F- 22, that the Pentagon had repeatedly said we didn't need -- so we're going to have to eliminate waste there.

        We're going to have to eliminate no-bid contracts. We're going to have to do all kinds of reforms in our budgeting. But we're also going to have to change health care. Otherwise, we can't change that $7.1 trillion gap in the way that the American people want it to change.

        So to all -- everybody who's out there who has been ginned about this idea that the Obama administration wants to spend and spend and spend, the fact of the matter is, is that we inherited an enormous deficit, enormous long-term debt projections. We have not reduced it as much as we need to and as I'd like to.

        OBAMA: But health care reform is not going to add to that deficit. It's designed to lower it. That's part of the reason why it's so important to do, and to do now.

        "I have lived with several Zen masters -- all of them cats." - Eckhart Tolle

        by catnip on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 10:08:29 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  My objection ... (0+ / 0-)

          ... is to this:

          But experts say that in addition to the benefits that you're pushing, there is going to have to be some sacrifice in order for there to be true cost-cutting measures, such as Americans giving up tests, referrals, choice, end-of-life care.

          And yeah, I thought it was an idiotic question in light of the fact folks are already sacrificing so much now -- that staying with the status quo is guaranteeing rationing and even worse, no coverage or care at all.  That is the point of this diary.

          So we either reform our health care system or we are guaranteed less and less care under the status quo.

          As far as the laundry list Tapper cited from "experts," I have to wonder who those "experts" are and how they know what the final plan will be.

          •  well (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Nightprowlkitty

            If you've followed the media (since the days of Hillarycare), you'll know that there have been many such objections by various "experts". The question needed to be asked. It was a national press conference. He gave Obama the chance to answer his skeptics. Why shoot the messenger?

            "I have lived with several Zen masters -- all of them cats." - Eckhart Tolle

            by catnip on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 07:46:30 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Eh ... (0+ / 0-)

              ... I don't think the question was asked with the clarity you imply.

              Nor do I believe your response about "experts" answers my objection about how Tapper framed that question.  Those same experts would also have to say the same thing about the status quo.

              The implication was that somehow now we have a system where those concerns aren't evident but with any real change oh noes!

              Sorry, I didn't see his question as hard hitting or helpful to the American public.

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