Sunday, September 13, 2009

Dan Pfeiffer, Helps Explain Pres. Obama's Position on Health Care

My local Show Me Progress blog does a wonderful job of keeping me up to date on all the stuff I need to know of things a lot of other blogs and MSM doesn't bother with. This is one of those things.

Dan Pfeiffer, who is a Deputy Communications Director in the White House held a Blogger Conference call after the President's speech Wednesday night. Here is the highlights and you can click on the link above to see the entire conversation as they transcribed it.

Even if you aren't from Missouri, they are a great blog to follow and read. They do a great job of keeping up with National news too..and cover the President quite well. With all the lack of real news reporting lately any source that can be found to show the truth is good.

But, here is some things I thought were pertinent from Dan's talk with the bloggers.

...Question: ...I was looking at the President's plan that you posted on the White House web site. And I was just wondering what parts if any are negotiable? What parts aren't?

Dan Pfeiffer: I think that the principles thee(sic) President laid out for the plan are not negotiable. The need for competition, the need for choice, the fact that we need to provide more, the insurance, the fact that we need to provide more security and stability for Americans who have insurance, the fact that it, that would, this, back up a step. I would say that the basic principles are non-negotiable as he said in, in his remarks. And he is open to good ideas. He wants to listen to members of Congress from both parties on how to proceed. And wants to work with the Congress. But the very, the core guarantee that Americans who have insurance will get to keep their insurance but get more stability and security. Americans who don't have insurance will get it, be able to achieve it affordably. And that the overall effort is [garbled] to the deficit. Those are the issues that will be part of any bill the President signs.

Question: ...This, this list that you put out, it's not just core principle, it's specific proposals. And so what I'm trying to get a sense of is, are these specific proposals that he's saying this is what I want or this is sort of what I want? Is it all negotiable [crosstalk]?

Dan Pfeiffer: He's, he's saying, he's saying, he's saying this is what I want. I'm not being, the mechanisms for achieving those goals will work with the Congress [garbled] to find the best way to do it, but he's very clear that the, those principles I laid out are, or that he laid out in the speech are what he believes to be real health reform. And he, his intention is to sign a real health reform bill.

It doesn't say who is asking the questions, it could be anyone. Bloggers from across the country are invited to participate in the call.

Dan Pfeiffer: I think that we, I mean, every, couple things, one, there is shocking, frankly shocking amount of agreement amongst all of the bill, the four bills that have been marked up between Senate HELP, Energy Commerce, Ways and Means, etcetera. So, that's good news. There are a lot of details to be worked out amongst them. The, also the good news is that all of them achieve the President's goals. Every American will have access to affordable coverage, Every American will have more security and stability in their health care. There is a mechanism in there that promotes competition and choice and keeps the insurance companies honest. So there's, they all achieve that. There are clearly a lot of, there's a lot of work that needs to be done to meld all of those together. It's probably not constructive at this point to try to pick each one apart. We're gonna continue to work with the Congress to move it, to move them all towards one final solution. If it's, one of the things that is, has sort of stalled progress here has been a series of big questions that have loomed over August. How do you, how do you pay for it? Where's the President come down on some of the financing? We know, what are we gonna do with the public option? What about the individual mandate? What about the employer mandate? Where, where does the White House stand on that? The President has let the legislative process play itself out, but tonight he stood up before Congress and the nation and answered the big questions. Which we believe will, and leaders from the House and Senate agree with us, will give a boost, tremendous boost of momentum to the process....

....Question: ...I'm wondering how you guys are gonna define affordable? I know the, the Baucus bill that just came out yesterday expects basically median income families with a significant medical event in a year to pay thirty-one percent of their income that year, leaving them just seven thousand dollars for things like utilities and education and debt and clothing. And I'm wondering if that is considered affordable.

Dan Pfeiffer: I have read the, some, some of the reports you have about what the Finance Committee is planning on doing. The chairman hasn't released a mark yet. I believe he's not planning on doing that 'til, I think it's in the middle of next week, so we'll have to look at that when it comes. The President did not lay out a specific number tonight, but one of the things he's committed to doing is working with all of the committee, all of the various committees here to make sure that we have one that common, the common sense will tell you was affordable that works. This is a very, this is a critical part as you may remember from the primary campaign. The President was very clear that an individual mandate only worked if you were able to lower the cost to make it affordable for people. And that's something he's committed to in this process.

Question: So common sense is the best measure that you can offer? [crosstalk]

Dan Pfeiffer: Well, what I, what I , what I, kind, the, common sense is not the, it is a critical component of it. We will work with them, but I don't have a number, a specific dollar amount or percentage for you tonight. But we're committed to working with the Congress to make sure it's one that is affordable and that we're not putting undue burdens on middle class families trying to have health care for their family....

-snip- This is the last of the questions but I think it is the MOST IMPORTANT..

Question: ...It seemed to me in the speech that the President was open to some sort of trigger for public option. And I am curious if he is actually going to push for a trigger as a sort of compromise between a public option immediately or in twenty thirteen and a certain public option in twenty thirteen and, and the other side. And if so, what kind of trigger are we talking about? What would the level be set at? How would it be triggered? And how does this jibe with the President's end comments about having to do this right now and having to insure the basic principles which include competition right now?

Dan Pfeiffer: Okay, let me, several questions there, let me sort of deal with them one by one. First, I think it's important to take a step back and look at what the President said about the public option. He was very clear about his support for it. He's very clear that it, it is in his plan. It is, he is going to work to make sure it's in any bill, but he is clear that it is, that he, his focus is on the goals here and he's open to other ideas. And he mentions the possibility of a trigger. Now you would have to construct it in a way that it actually, actually increased competition, allowed the consumer choice, and kept the insurance companies honest. There are ways you could design it that would not achieve that. And that's not something that the President would support. So, if, if that is route that, that Congress decides to go we will work with them to insure that it, it achieves those goals. But there was a lot of speculation heading into this about what the President would say about the public option. A lot of people saying that he was going to throw it aside, but he did not do that, he did, I think, in fact, the opposite. I mean, he's clear, he, he wants to be very clear that this is not all health reform and it's not the only way to achieve his goals, but he thinks it's a very valuable tool and it's one that he supports and is willing to push for. In terms of the timeline, you know, it is gonna take some time to get the system, an overall health reform effort up and running. That just, it's a logistical fact of it and we're. We're gonna do that as quickly as possible in order to address some of the immediate concerns. We're gonna work [garbled] very quickly, get the insurance guarantees in place. And, as I mentioned earlier, have this high risk pool available to people with preexisting conditions, many of whom cannot buy insurance even, even the well to do with preexisting conditions who are buying on the individual market or cannot get insurance. So we'll have this high risk available as soon as we, as soon as possible to allow people to get into it to buy catastrophic coverage which will allow them, that will insure them that, if they have a chronic disease, a serious accident, a serious injury, they will be protected from bankruptcy. And frankly all of the, the taxpayer who ends up paying for some of these cases, which are by far the most expensive and take up a significant percentage of health spending in this country, will not be, will not fall on the taxpayer dime. [crosstalk]

Question: I'm sorry, just to clarify, that, that pool, that high risk pool, is that a public program?

Dan Pfeiffer: It, it would have to be started that way, yes.

All right, thank you everyone. We hope to do this again as we move through the process. I hope folks found it helpful and I hope you enjoyed the speech tonight. Thanks so much...

So, once again, this is someone in the White House, close to the President stating that he is strongly supporting the Public Option. I am stating this because I heard again this morning Joe Klein and Howard Fineman say on Tweety's show that the public option was dead.. These idiots get paid so much money to be wrong.

After the speech Wednesday, the Rally in Minnesota yesterday and now this.. how can they continue to say it is dead. The President and all of his spokes people are on the same page here as far as I can tell.. it is the moronic talking heads who are out of step.

Take a look at the rest of the call with the bloggers at Show Me Progress if you would like. I only brought the highlights over..

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