What can we expect from Obama's prime-time health-care speech tonight? It's being touted as a pivotal moment in the health-care debate, and a chance for Obama to put reform back on track after a rough month. But if the segments released to the media so far are any indication, the speech won't offer much except more of the same.
As always, it appears unlikely that he'll take a firm stand on the public plan; instead, he'll say it's good but not necessary. As always, he'll employ a bit of rhetorical sleight of hand by saying that the government won't require anyone to change plans (technically true, though structural changes in the health-care system will likely end up shifting people away from their current plans anyway). As always, he'll call for increased regulation of private insurance companies. And as always, he'll stress the importance of this particular moment and this particular presidency to achieving the goal of universal coverage.
One other thing to expect: Like Obama's last prime time health-care address, this one will probably result in low ratings, particularly since it's competing against the season premiere of So You Think You Can Dance. But that's probably to be expected from what is, after all, little more than a rerun.
I'll post my reaction after the speech, but for up-to-the-minute commentary, check out Cato's panel of health-care experts who will be live-blogging the whole thing.