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August 4, 2009

Obama Talks Out of Both Sides of His Mouth on Single-Payer

In this clip from 2003 we hear President Obama say pretty clearly that he wants a single-payer healthcare system:

"I happen to be a proponent of a single payer universal health care program. I see no reason why the United States of America, the wealthiest country in the history of the world, spending 14 percent of its Gross National Product on health care cannot provide basic health insurance to everybody. And that's what Jim is talking about when he says everybody in, nobody out. A single payer health care plan, a universal health care plan. And that's what I'd like to see. But as all of you know, we may not get there immediately. Because first we have to take back the White House, we have to take back the Senate, and we have to take back the House."

Sounds pretty straighforward to me.

In case you've been living in a cave, "single-payer" means replacing private health insurance with a government program similar to Medicare. All doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers are paid from this government fund. Universal or near-universal coverage is usually a feature. Doctors do not directly get their salaries from the government, so it is said that this is not a socialist system, but since the government pays for all covered procedures, it seems a distinction without a difference.

But let's not get off track. In response to the above video, the Obama Administration has fired back with this

Opponents of health insurance reform may find the truth a little inconvenient, but as our second president famously said, "facts are stubborn things."

Scary chain emails and videos are starting to percolate on the internet, breathlessly claiming, for example, to "uncover" the truth about the President's health insurance reform positions.

In this video, Linda Douglass, the communications director for the White House's Health Reform Office, addresses one example that makes it look like the President intends to "eliminate" private coverage, when the reality couldn't be further from the truth.

Ok, so which is it? Obama directly contradicts himself the videos. In the one from 2003 he is quite clear that he wants single payer. In the one below he just as emphatically denies it.

In the White House video, Communications Director Linda Douglass tries to tell us that those dastardly right-wingers "taking sentences and phrases out of context and cobbling them together" to leave a false impression. They "take a phrase here and there and they cherry pick..."

This is patent nonsense. There was nothing taking out of context in the first video. Obama spoke at length and was very clear in what he meant.

The fact is that Barack Obama is a leftist more radical than he let on during the campaign, where he tried to paint himself as a moderate. This should have been no surprise to anyone who simply looked at his record. His pastor, Jeremiah Wright, wasn't shy about stating his views, and Obama sat and listened to him for 20 years. Obama also knew all about Bill Ayers but didn't find his background too objectionable to not associate with him.

Once again Obama has been caught in a video in which he revealed his true colors, and all the White House spin in the world won't change that fact.

Posted by Tom at August 4, 2009 10:00 PM

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