Obama's about to start his healthcare address to Congress. Naturally, I am live blogging.
8:01PM - Introducing the cabinet and diplomatic corps.
8:02PM - Blitzer is saying to expect hearty applause from Democrats, but some stony silence from Republicans.
8:03PM - Michelle Obama's dress. Very pink. Eh. Someone needs to tell her she looks her best when her bottom doesn't flare out like that.
8:05PM - Wow, they're playing a clip of Bill Clinton's '93 address, and I'd forgotten how young Clinton actually looked 16 years ago.
8:07PM - Good point by one of CNN's talking heads: there are 5 healthcare bills being considered right now, and Obama's probably going to propose a 6th. It's going to get complicated.
8:12PM - Enter Obama. You know, I've always wondered why there isn't a larger door into the House for these sorts of things. There's just a small 4 ft wide entrance with a plain octagon inset overtop.
8:15PM - Did Pelosi just ask Obama to grab her a copy of the script?
8:17PM - Starts off by talking about the economy and how we still have a way to go. I wonder, is he going to link this with healthcare, or is it a stand alone issue?
8:19PM - "Didn't come here to clean up a crisis, we came here to build a future." I see, so no link :)
8:21PM - Some points about health insurance, and how it has problems, like cost, lack of stability, pre-existing conditions, recision, etc. Stories about insurance failures, a woman needing a double masectomy denied because of acne. This is good stuff.
8:24PM - Hmm... describing rising costs as a hidden tax, 1K a year, because of uninsured. Interesting formulation. I wonder if it's designed to bring over Republicans, which, I'm sorry to say, is a lost cause.
8:25PM - Applause from the left for the Canadian option. No applause for the right's option.
8:27PM - Obama says Congress agrees on 80% of what needs to be done. If that's true, it's pretty telling that the remaining 20% is what's stopping us.
8:28PM - Some gentle scolding to Congress about partisanship. Lots of applause.
8:28PM - 3 Simple Goals: More stability for those who have insurance. Provide insurance for those who don't. Slow the growth of costs.
8:30PM - "Nothing in our plan requires you to change what you have." A good try, but really, "Nothing requires"? Sounds technicalityish. Who put that in?
8:30PM - No more exclusion of pre-existing conditions. No more recission. No more caps. A limit on out-of-pocket expenses. I like this all, and yet ... altogether I wonder how insurance competition is going to work out of all this?
8:33PM - Insurance exchange is the 2nd part. Good line about how exchanges are what Congress uses, and should be what everyone can get. Tax credits for those who can't afford.
8:34PM - Ahhh... the short-term insurance against financial ruin from McCain's presidential campaign. Good policy, good politics.
8:35PM - Don't know if it's the 2nd part or 3rd part, but Obama's plan includes a mandate. He's completely correct that this is necessary to make everything work, especially to keep the insurance business viable.
8:37PM - Ohh, now he's going for Palin and the Death Panels. Calls her out as a liar, plain and simple. Also clears up the illegal immigrant thing, to loud boos ... not sure who from. Interesting if it came from the left. Interesting if it came from the right. Also clears up the abortion thing, to applause.
8:39PM - Here comes the public option. Frames it up as holding the insurance companies accountable, and ensuring competition.
8:42PM - Hmm, public option would only be available for those who go onto the exchange and can't get employer insurance. He also insists that he will require it to be self-sufficient.
8:44PM - Oooohhh... addresses "progressives" on policy, admonishes "Republicans" to bring forth "reasonable objections". Ouch.
8:46PM - Obama promises not to sign a plan that will increase the deficit. Good. Spending cuts if savings don't materialze ... yikes.
8:47PM - Ouch again. Plants blame for the deficit squarely on Bush. Doesn't call him out by name, but it wasn't subtle.
8:49PM - Talks down the Medicare myths. Promises that Medicare benefits will not be touched, and reminds seniors that the scary stories are coming from people who tried to abolish it earlier.
8:51PM - Ah, now we get to the nitty gritty. The plan will be paid for by surtaxes on expensive insurance plans.
8:52PM - "Defensive medicine may be contributing to unnecessary costs." Yikes, who wrote that line? Incidentally, this gets back to my idea about a healthcare bubble - namely that we've simply advanced way too quickly and can't pay for anything.
8:55PM - "I will not waste time with those who've made the calculation that it's better politics to kill this plan than to improve it." Good line. Promises to call out people who spread lies.
8:56PM - Whoh, Ted Kennedy wrote a letter a few months ago, and asked for it to be delivered upon his death ... and called for health care reform.
9:03PM - Obama rounds up his speech with national greatness stuff. Honestly, I find this stuff kind of boring. I don't need him to tell me how awesome I am :P