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September 7, 2009
Rich Baehr's Obama speech preview at PJM
AT's Political Correspondent Rich Baehr has a must read piece being featured this morning at Pajamas Media that previews President Obama's joint address to Congress while giving some plausible scenarios for how the health care reform process will play out.
"Obama's Health Care Speech a High Stakes Political Game:"
To be sure, the president's approach at this stage is certain to be political - meaning the only goal, given how he has staked his presidency on passing health care reform, is finding a way to get the votes needed in the House and Senate to pass something that he can sell to the public as real reform. At a minimum, that package will have to include some insurance market reform that significantly whittles down the number of uninsured and provides greater security to individuals that they will be able to buy insurance (regardless of pre-existing conditions) and can keep their insurance if they become very ill.
With new estimates of federal deficits averaging close to a trillion dollars a year for the next ten years, unemployment hovering near the 10% level, and polling data suggesting that twice as many Americans are concerned about addressing the federal deficit as health care reform, the administration is almost certain to scale back the size of the package it will accept. That means that the goal of universal coverage may be scrapped and federal subsidies to assist the uninsured to purchase insurance will be provided to those at lower income levels and not become the broader middle class entitlement the administration sought (higher income levels for subsidies helps create an expanded class of voters feeling allegiance to the party that has delivered the "goodies").
Baehr also predicts that the president will abandon his party's moderates and try to use "brute force" to pass a huge reform package that includes the public option - even though it will probably cost Democrats a large number of seats in the 2010 midterms.
Read the whole thing at PJ Media.