I watched a good chunk of Obama's press conference last night about health care. I will be truly amazed if this moves the Senate vote along any quicker or moves votes in his direction.
As Peter Suderman noted last night, the evening was essentially one long diversionary tactic, filled with some pat anecdotes and vague-ish scare stats. One strange moment that I think sums up his (and many people's, including those on the conservative side of things) view of patients, came when he talked about how better information sharing done with gee-whiz computers would prevent a person getting the same test done three times. I immediately thought: First off, it's often medically smart to do more than one test. Who among us hasn't had a false positive response? But more important, where was the patient in that pat scenario about inefficiency? If patients are seen (as they are all too often by medical providers and pols alike) as dumb sheep who should do as they told, of course care is going to ultimately suck. A similar thread ran through his comment about getting diabetics to nutritionists earlier so they don't have to get their feet amputated. Wise counsel, and one that ignores the patient, who in that sort of situation absolutely needs to be in charge of his or her own body. I've know more than a few diabetics, especially adult-onset cases, where they had all the info and treatment in the world. The outcome was almost solely dependent on how seriously they acted on what they knew to be true. It wasn't about a lack of information. If Obama can't conceive of patients who are vocally engaged in their own health care, I definitely don't want part of any plan he cooks up.
More to the point: If last night was an attempt to convince the American people that government could vastly and quickly restructure a ginormous part of our economy all while saving money and improving care, then the patient is dying on the table. There's no way this kind of chatter shakes off the problems identified in the recent CBO report on the Democratic plan: $500 billion added to the deficit and still leaving 20 million Americans uninsured.
A USA Today poll from a couple days back had 55 percent on independents negatory on Obama's handling of health care; 50 percent overall dinna like it. Given that sort of response and the righteous foot-dragging by various senators and figure on this thing being pushed into the fall. Maybe by then Obama or somebody else will have generated a plan that actually does engage the awful lack of competition and clarity and vision in the health care system.
In the meantime, if you're uninsured, you've got options, as outlined in this Reason.tv video (embed code, downloadable versions, and more here):