Obama Takes Reform Message To New Hampshire, Takes On ‘Scare Tactics’
President Barack Obama Tuesday called out "wild misrepresentations" of a plan to reform the health care system in America, The Concord (N.H.) Monitor reports.
Much of the crowd of 1,800 at a high school in Portsmouth, N.H., was pro-Obama and pro-reform, while many protesters outside, and small number inside, were critical. Obama, however stuck to his message. "Obama reeled off the points that have become his mantra on health insurance: The current system wastes too much, leaves too many Americans uncovered and allows insurance companies to make unjust decisions, such as refusing to cover people with pre-existing conditions. Failure on the reform effort is not an option, Obama said, because the status quo is unsustainable" (Dorgan, 8/12).
The Los Angeles Times: "The president used his appearance ... to frame his view of the healthcare crisis, appeal to wavering Americans and counter what he said were outlandish fallacies in arguments by Republicans and conservatives" (Parsons and Hook, 8/12).
The New York Times: "Mr. Obama predicted that Congress would pass health care legislation, suggesting that while hoping for a bipartisan bill, he would abandon efforts to get Republican support if it became necessary. 'The most important thing is to get it done for the American people,' he said" (Cooper, 8/11).
NPR reports that Obama urged the crowd "to support initiatives that would protect Americans from having their insurance coverage denied if they have a pre-existing condition or become seriously ill." NPR reports that demonstrators -- about 1,000 -- arrived early, leading police to call in security reinforcements. City Attorney Robert Sullivan said "the crowds strained the community's police and fire crews, but remained well-behaved" (Tedford, 8/11).
The Wall Street Journal on dissenters in the New Hampshire crowd: "Questioners worried that a government-sponsored option would overwhelm the private-health-care market, and one participant said he was pushed off his name-brand high-cholesterol medication by Medicaid officials. 'I'm dealing with the same thing that you're telling me the insurance companies are doing,' said Bill Anderson of New Hampshire" (Weisman, 8/12).
The Washington Post: Demonstrators outside the high school held posters "declaring him a socialist and dubbing him 'Obamahdinejad,' in reference to Iran's president." People protested a bigger government role in health care and "a young girl held up a sign that said: 'Obama Lies, Grandma Dies.'" But senior adviser David Axelrod said Obama "had for weeks been 'relishing' the opportunity to engage with people to defend his efforts to overhaul the health-care system. 'His instinct whenever there is controversy or debate is to wade in and speak directly to people,' Axelrod said. 'There is a whole lot of misinformation out there'" (Kornblut and Shear, 8/12).
The Associated Press reports that Obama himself is playing fact-checker: "It's a strategy he will employ at two more town halls this week in Montana and Colorado, and on the White House Web site. To that end, the Democratic National Committee is running health care overhaul ads nationally on cable channels and in spots the president will visit, joining a chorus of ads that has become a cacophony over a problem that has vexed Washington for decades" (Elliot, 8/12).
KHN has a transcript of the event.This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.