Steele Assails “Experimentation” In Obama’s Health Reform Effort
"The chairman of the Republican Party on Monday accused President Barack Obama of conducting 'risky experimentation' with his health care proposals, saying they will hurt the economy and force millions to drop their current coverage, The Associated Press reports. "Michael Steele, in remarks at the National Press Club, also said the president, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and key congressional committee chairmen are part of a 'cabal' that wants to implement government-run health care."
Meanwhile, "Republican officials said they were supplementing Steele's speech with a round of television advertising designed to oppose government-run health care. The 30-second commercials, titled "Grand Experiment," criticizes recent government aid to the auto industry and banks as 'the biggest spending spree in our history' and warns of 'a risky experiment with our health care.'"
The AP quoted prepared excerpts from Steele's speech as saying, the president "tells us he doesn't want to spend more than we have, he doesn't want the deficit to go up, he doesn't want to live off borrowed money. But he also told us he didn't want to run an auto company. President Obama justifies this spending by saying the devil made him do it. He doesn't want to spend trillions we can't afford, but he says he just can't help it" (Espo, 7/20).
The Washington Post: "Steele's speech at the National Press Club comes as Republicans are sensing momentum shifting in their direction and as polls show rising concerns about Obama's economic policies, a growing unemployment rate -- despite the stimulus -- and Democratic division on health care. GOP leaders are accusing the president of looking to push a bill too quickly through Congress and urging him to delay until after the August congressional recess, as are some Democrats. 'They want to get a bill done in the next two weeks. This reckless approach is an ill-conceived attempt to push through an experiment and all of us should be scared to death,' Steele said. 'Slow down, Mr. President.'"
The Post also reports that "Steele encouraged Obama to drop much of his health agenda and adopt a number of proposals Republicans have long touted, such as efforts to reduce medical malpractice lawsuits, make it easier for self-employed individuals to buy health insurance and encourage businesses to set up programs that reward employees who lose weight, stop smoking or take other measures to improve their health" (Bacon, 7/20).