New Ad Shows President Obama’s Broken Health Care Promises, In His Own Words
The two most controversial aspects of the recently passed Senate health care bill include the absence of a public option, and a mandate whereby the public will be required with penalty — to be enforced by the IRS — to purchase health insurance policies from the private, for-profit, health insurance industry; policies which may very well provide inadequate coverage, and may include unaffordable deductibles, co-pays, or premiums (those with qualifying income can receive government subsidies towards private insurance policy premiums). The progressive community has largely blasted the bill as a giveaway to the health insurance industry off the backs of American citizens.
A new national poll, by Research 2000, revealed that only 33% of Americans favor such a mandate without a public option and a medicare buy-in, and 56% of Americans oppose such a bill.
Yesterday, President Obama defended the bill to the Washington Post by making the erroneous claim, “I didn’t campaign on the public option.” Liberal blog, Think Progress, responded by posting a series of instances where Obama had in fact promised his supporters the public option:
- In the 2008 Obama-Biden health care plan on the campaign’s website, candidate Obama promised that “any American will have the opportunity to enroll in [a] new public plan.” 
- During a speech at the American Medical Association, President Obama told thousands of doctors that one of the plans included in the new health insurance exchanges “needs to be a public option that will give people a broader range of choices and inject competition into the health care market.” [6/15/09]
- While speaking to the nation during his weekly address, the President said that “any plan” he signs “must include…a public option.” [7/17/09]
- During a conference call with progressive bloggers, the President said he continues “to believe that a robust public option would be the best way to go.” [7/20/09]
- Obama told NBC’s David Gregory that a public option “should be a part of this [health care bill],” while rebuking claims that the plan was “dead.” [9/20/09]
The Progressive Change Campaign Committee upped the ante by unveiling a new ad showing President Barack Obama stating the following:
“Any plan I sign must include an insurance exchange, including a public option to increase competition and keep insurance companies honest.”
“If a mandate was the solution, we could try that to solve homelessness by mandating everybody buy a house. The reason they don’t have a house is they don’t have the money.”
They plan on running the ad in Washington, DC and in Wisconsin — home of Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI), whom they hope can still be persuaded to drop his support for any bill without a public option.
Here’s a clip on MSNBC’s ‘Countdown,’ hosted by Lawrence O’Donnell, showing Obama during the campaign telling groups who cared about the issue, like Health Care For America NOW!, that he supported a public health insurance plan.
It includes a clip of Obama campaigning to a Planned Parenthood event on July 17, 2007 where he outlines to the audience his health care reform proposal:
“We’re going to set up a public plan that all persons and all women can access if they don’t have health insurance. It will be a plan that will provide all essential services, including reproductive services.”
It also includes another clip of Obama in the make or break state of Iowa speaking to the Editorial Board of the Des Moines Register, the Summer before the Caucuses:
We’re providing subsidies to people who can’t afford health insurance. They have the option of buying into the government plan, or they can go out on the private market, but we won’t give the subsidy to pay for a plan that does not abide by these basic criteria.
And another clip from the Heartland Presidential Forum on December 1, 2007 — just one month before the Iowa Caucuses — where Obama is shown telling the crowd the following:
If I were designing a system from scratch, I would probably move more in the direction of a single payer plan, but what we have to do right now, because of people like Deirdre and her daughter, is I want to move to make sure that everybody’s got coverage as quickly as possible. And I believe that what that means is we expand SCHIP, it means that we extend eligibility for some of the government programs that we have, we set up a government program as I’ve described that everybody can buy into.
We will not completely eliminate the private market, because half of the people are still getting insurance from the private marketplace, but we will give them a choice so that if they feel as if they’re being price gauged they are gonna have a legitimate alternative that they can access.
It should be health insurance they can count on. And the notion that the private marketplace can take care of that is just not true.
I went digging around in my old Organizing For America / Barack Obama Campaign material, and here’s what I dug up: “President Obama’s Plan for Health Reform,” where it reads:
IF YOU DON’T HAVE INSURANCE
Quality, Affordable Choices for All Americans
- Creates a new insurance marketplace — the Exchange — that allows people without insurance and small businesses to compare plans and buy insurance at competitive prices.
- Provides new tax credits to help people buy insurance.
- Provides small businesses tax credits and affordable options for covering employees.
- Offers a public health insurance option to provide the uninsured and those who can’t find affordable coverage with a real choice.
- Immediately offers new, low-cost coverage through a national “high risk” pool to protect people with preexisting conditions from financial ruin until the new Exchange is created.