The pre-State of the Union delivery hype coming out of the White House was that President Obama had gotten the message: The people do not want more Obama-speak about health care, climate change, cap-and-trade, et al. Rather, the people want the administration and Congress to focus on jobs.
Then, last Wednesday night, Obama delivered the actual SOTU address—all 70-plus minutes of it.
Much of the president’s first SOTU speech was about jobs—some of it good, some bad. But, true to form, during the address Obama could not leave well enough alone. He just had to stir the health-care stew. He began, “Now, let’s clear a few things up. I didn’t choose to tackle this issue (health care) to get some legislative victory under my belt.”
That statement, of course, belies the political reality of Obama’s first year in office. It also ignored the numerous resets of time targets for congress to get health care reform passed. And, as if a magic eraser, the president seemed to want to smudge away from public memory the dozens of times he unsuccessfully attempted to explain why he wants government to take over private health care.
The president’s next sentence was designed to draw applause from the Congressional assembly: “And by now it should be fairly obvious that I didn’t take on health care because it was good politics.”
It did. The audience—mostly incumbent politicians—roared.
The line also worked the way speechwriters wanted—as the planned transition to what Mr. Obama really wanted to say in political defense about his first year effort to takeover one-sixth of the U.S. economy: “I took on health care because of the stories I’ve heard from Americans with preexisting conditions whose lives depend on getting coverage; patients who’ve been denied coverage…”
Okay, Mr. President. Since you stirred the stew yet again during the SOTU address—we’ll take you at your word.
Here’s the fix. Here’s how you personally can help knockout pre-existing conditions as a denial of coverage issue: It’s a one-two punch combination.
If you do your part well it will work. Your part is not hard. However, your part is critically important. All you need do is execute the ‘jab.’ Your effective jab will provide the opening for each of the states. All you need do is start jabbing; and keep jabbing. And, always jab in public. You jab—jawbone—all private provider entities. No politics. No federal threats. No added taxes. No federal regulations. Just deliver straight talk. The jabs if you will … from the president of the United States.
Jab, that is repeatedly ask, each private provider to add a market priced package that covers pre-existing conditions to their portfolio of health care coverage offerings. That will provide every citizen with the opportunity to purchase coverage.
Simultaneously, jab—that is repeatedly urge—each of the 50 governors to call a special session of their state legislatures to convene before March 15, in order to discuss and vote yes or no to opening their state to all private insurance providers.
That’s it, Mr. President.
This one-two combination KO’s the pre-existing conditions issue. No fancy footwork needed. No phone calls, no one-on-ones. Just execute: Firm jabbing; delivered only in public; only by you.
As president, your jabbing—simple concise jawbone actions—will open the opportunity for each of the 50 state governors and legislative leaders to follow-through. State legislators that vote to open their state market will promote access to whatever coverage may be needed by individuals and families, and promote lower prices for all via increased competition within the state market. Thus, individuals with pre-existing conditions—while appropriately paying more for coverage than individuals without pre-existing conditions—would also benefit from expanded competition.
The American people are ringside, watching and waiting. Waiting to see if President Obama responds to the bell, moves center-ring; and, watching to see if he starts jabbing, and if he does how convincingly he jabs.
Richard Olivastro is president of Olivastro Communications, a professional member of the National Speakers Association and founder of Citizens For Change. He can be reached at Rich@Olivastro.NET or 877-RichSpeaks.