Tag Archives: obamacare

Are You Ready for Some Football? (As In, Are You Ready for A Public Option?)

On Tuesday, the biggest story of the day was whether the public option had officially come out of retirement.  Last week, after President Obama downplayed its importance as just a “sliver” of healthcare reform, the public option had all but cleaned out its locker.  Political pundits immediately jumped on the story, claiming that the White House was “ready to drop [the] public option” and that Obama had “killed” it.  (The killing was all done with the blessing of the death panel, of course.)

On Tuesday, however, the public option made a comeback.  Robert Gibbs told press correspondents that Obama indeed “prefers a public option” and that it’s still a “priority.”   Sixty House Democrats sent Kathleen Sebelius a love letter,  imploring her to save the public option.  Even Howard Dean made the rounds, saying that reform would not be possible without it… Yeeeaaaah!

Given the denials, the backpedaling, and all the ups and downs, polls show that Americans are getting sick of this talk.  We just want to know what will happen next.

favreWell, here is where a Brett Favre analogy can help.  Favre is a Hall of Fame quarterback specializing in football and flippy floppies.  He retired from the Green Bay Packers in March 2008, un-retired in August 2008 to play for the Jets, re-retired from the Jets in February 2009, and then un-re-retired just yesterday, announcing his intention to play for the Vikings.

With the public option, we’ve already done the retirement waffle dance.  Now, it’s gametime.  If we follow the Brett Favre Story, then we have a few more months of “will they” or “won’t they.”  Once it’s decided upon that the public option will be included in the healthcare bill, it’ll keep things close… but in the end, it will ultimately fold under pressure.  It will naturally stay in the pocket too long, get kicked around by angry Republicans clawing for a win in 2010, and toss up an ill-timed pass into coverage that will get intercepted by a watered-down bill of “reform.”  Then, defeated once again, the public option shall retire to a field of diminutive co-ops, rising healthcare costs, and Wrangler jeans, forever reminiscing about the days of Obamacare and greener pastures by the bay.

It may be a stretch… but Favre did throw 22 interceptions last year.  This won’t end well.

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Just a Good, Old-Fashioned Town Hall… With the Crazies

Remember when we used to have town halls to discuss trivial matters? — Like how to get the neighbors off your lawn, or where to host the July 4th fireworks?  Well, we’ve evolved since then… now, town halls are all about whether the government should allow Grandma to live.  From yesterday’s meetings in Pennsylvania, Missouri, and New Hampshire, it appears that public sentiment (or at least the sentiment of the old and jobless who can attend these midday town halls) is clear: We want Grandma to live!  We’re not going to let Obama’s death panels take her!!  Bring your socialist friends back to Russia!!!  WE… ARE… AMERICA!!!!! (Thunderous applause, chants of “USA”, hootin’, hollerin’, waving of American flag… or, if wearing a patriotic-themed shirt, some saggy boob-shakin’)

jerryspringerOf course, Grandma was never in danger yesterday… unless she found herself in the middle of the angry mob.  I was more afraid for Grandpa Specter (D-Penn), who turns 80 in February, and who hosted his second town hall in Lebanon, PA.  Wearing a dark black suit (he had a death panel meeting in the afternoon), Specter gallantly stood a foot away from his constituents as they railed him about budget deficits, tort reform, and his flippy floppies.  One particularly hostile man invoked God before making his dramatic exit.  After an hour in front of that crowd, I half-hoped that a loony Russian socialist would euthanize ol’ Arlen right there, and put him out of his misery.

Given that the morning session in Pennsylvania was so fun, I had to tune in for Senator McCaskill’s (D-Mo.) town hall in Missouri.  McCaskill one-upped Specter with some drama of her own: an African-American supporter with a sign was attacked, then escorted out of the room amidst cheers.  McCaskill did her motherly best to shush the crowd, but her scolding led to even more disorder.  Appealing to a higher power (“Remember, we had a prayer in the beginning!”), McCaskill still couldn’t prevent the boos, the interruptions, and the frequent appeals that she just “go home.”  Perhaps the attendees simply wanted to have a good Christian hee-haw without Mom getting all huffy about healthcare reform.

While Obama’s town hall in New Hampshire was infinitely more civil (although someone did bring a gun), it all begs the question: Why the outrage?  Do people really believe that Obama is going to put down Grandma?  That the government wants to emulate the (gasp) old Soviet Union?  Never mind that most Western Europe countries have universal healthcare…  I suppose the fear that we’re turning into Britain (the redcoats!) no longer stokes a fire in most Americans. 

Along with the crazies, I too, have legitimate concerns with a universal healthcare plan… But, as long as Grandma gets to live, I’m willing to listen.

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