I was watching the Pennsylvania Primary coverage last night and among other things, they were playing a speech by Barack Obama, the great articulate speaker of our time. This quote jumped out at me:
I mean, think about it. How many years, how many decades have we been talking about solving our health care crisis?
While looking for his speech from last night, I also ran across this speech from February of last year where he says, “Let’s be the generation that finally tackles our health care crisis,” and this one from last May where he says we “let this crisis fester for decades.”
A multi-decade crisis seems like an oxymoron. Are we in a health care crisis? Have we been in one for decades? Generations? Sen. Obama, you may not like the condition of our health care system and you may have a great plan for making it better, but as Inigo Montoya said, “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”
Merriam Webster defines crisis as:
- a: the turning point for better or worse in an acute disease or fever b: a paroxysmal attack of pain, distress, or disordered function c: an emotionally significant event or radical change of status in a person’s life <a midlife crisis>
- : the decisive moment (as in a literary plot)
- a: an unstable or crucial time or state of affairs in which a decisive change is impending; especially : one with the distinct possibility of a highly undesirable outcome <a financial crisis> b: a situation that has reached a critical phase <the environmental crisis>
Unfortunately, his plan (pdf) for health care isn’t great either. The very first “feature” of his plan contains the first glaring problem: “No American will be able to be turned away from any insurance plan because of any illness or pre-existing condition.” Great! Keep the cheapest plan you can find until you get sick, then switch to the best gold-plated private room plan you can find. Once you’re well again, go back to the cheapest plan you can find again. How long do you think a plan offering anything above the minimum required benefits will survive? But that’s the real goal–in a few years the private insurance companies will be forced out and everyone can get on the government plan.
In last night’s speech, Obama also said,
It’s easy to get caught up in the distractions and the silliness and the tit-for-tat that consumes our politics, the bickering that none of us are entirely immune to, and it trivializes the profound issues: two wars, an economy in recession, a planet in peril, issues that confront our nation.
That kind of politics is not why we are here tonight. It’s not why I’m here, and it’s not why you’re here.
So far Hillary hasn’t been going after Obama on the issues too much because most of her positions are just as wacky as his. Hopefully, once one of these jokers gets nominated we will all start really focusing on the issues. Be careful what you wish for, Obama!