Barack Obama portrays himself as a man of the people. So much so that to accommodate 75,000 supporters clamoring to attend his acceptance speech for the Democratic presidential nomination the venue changed from the Pepsi Center to Mile High stadium in Denver, Colorado.
That night, amidst wafts of smoke and a Greek temple motif, Obama told America, “This election has never been about me, it’s about you.” Barack Obama said, “Change should not come from Washington, change must come to Washington.” Like Zeus descending from Mt. Olympus Obama’s presence and words were met with tears of adulation.
In the name of freedom and democracy it appears, “Change must come to Washington” as peaceful populist revolt. Six months after Obama’s inauguration the American public is indicating that it may be mile high time for Obama to return to INVESCO Field for a similar get-together. Except for this gathering, instead of the DNC hosting the event, millions of Americans opposing socialized health care beckon Obama to the field.
Obama’s efforts to bring change altered the tenor of the nation from adoring multitude chanting, “Yes we can,” into a justifiably angry mob yelling, “You better not!” The rabble-rousers summoning him to the pitch are patriotic citizens with life and death concerns about socializing 1/6th of the American economy.
In an effort to provide transparency, Obama established on-line Internet forums to address inquiries. In that spirit, a well-practiced town hall politician like Obama should be willing to accommodate an unfiltered event crammed with those who hired him. A perfect venue for a citizen-sponsored town hall, where people not Teleprompters dictate the dialogue, is Beaver Stadium in Pennsylvania, which seats 107,000.
For this event Oprah’s theatrical production manager can take the day off. Obama can leave the columns on the tour bus and bring detailed information about HR 3200. All that is required is a comfortable stool for el Presidente to perch upon, sufficient sound amplification and a Jumbotron where the guest of honor can be clearly viewed by all attending as he retorts to questions posed by the multitudes.
Obama, can elucidate points in HR 3200 drawing on extended lecturing background and training community organizers in classroom settings. On the display monitor highlights of the bill can be scrolled through and stopped at key junctures for clarification. In a spirit of frankness and lucidity, Obama’s image can be projected on the screen. This will provide attendees, along with millions at home, an opportunity for close-up observation of every nuance in his answers, without the benefit of scripted guidance.
The function can commence with a clip of Obama expressing desire for the best health care possible for his family. Immediately following a split-screen lightning round could start where Obama explains conflicting comments. Which is it? Is he for, or against a single-payer system?
The President can shed light on perplexing comments, which seem to contradict the contents of the bill like, “Let me be exactly clear about what health care reform means to you…First of all… you can keep your doctor, you can keep your plan. Nobody is talking about taking that away from you.” He can correct what he calls “misinformation” by explaining “Limitations to Self-Insuring,” on page 16, which implies insurance companies will be squeezed out of competition and Americans relegated, without choice, into the public option.
A chart highlighting proposed taxes on employers and individuals alike could be projected onto the overhead. Obama could explain the 2.5% tax levy for individuals without government defined “acceptable” health care. He can explain the oblique tax intimidation contained on page 150. Where according to the size of payroll, tariffs of 2-8% would be imposed on private employers who choose to not provide the public option to full and part-timers and their families.
Immediately following, Obama can address across the board surtax increases scheduled for 2012, cited on page 199, described as “further adjustment for additional Federal Health reform savings.” Maybe those in the nosebleed section of the arena would like an explanation as to why pages 202- 215 indicate a rewriting of the tax-code exempting illegal aliens who remain eligible to receive government health care. Obama can then go on to justify the Public Health Fund, referenced on page 859, costing $888 billion and how it is paid for without middle class tax increases?
The President can touch upon a National ID Card, the closing of cancer hospitals, government take over of nursing homes, tracking of personal records and information. Without the distraction of cheering crowds, balloons and fanfare Obama can clarify mandates and controls on drug prices and the bureaucratic determination of which pharmaceuticals are brought to market. Obama can address the impact of such measures on a fragile economy and incentive to develop new medication in the future.
Beginning on page 29 Obama can spell out references to rationing peppered throughout the bill. He can then detail the role of the Health Benefits Advisory Committee, made up of a panel of medical and other experts who recommend covered benefits, essential, enhanced and premium plans. Expounding extensively, upon request, on the definition of “other.”
A representative from the Doctor’s section of the stadium can demand explanation for health care professionals who would be, for all intents and purposes, owned by the government. For example, what page 317, lines 13-20 means by, “Prohibition of Physician Ownership and Investment.” Obama’s outstanding speechifying skills can be displayed as he explains page 241, which portends brain surgeons being paid the same salary as proctologists. Doctors could ask Obama to focus on how these policies would impact motivating the best and brightest to pursue careers in the medical profession.
As a committed liberal abortion advocate Obama can detail options included in government-mandated eligibility for State Family Planning and whether the Congressional legislation allows government-sponsored insurance plans covering abortions. He can then respond to those of childbearing age what page 769 means when it says, “increasing birth intervals between pregnancies?”
Parents in the stadium may want the President to touch upon proposals for School Based Clinics being integrated into public education and its affect abortion and parental notification. Or, clarification of pages 844-845 Home Visitation Program, which intimates government mandated parenting guidance. In addition, parents might be interested as to whether Preventative Services will enforce vaccinations regardless of personal choice, as stated on page 765.
How a vehemently right-to-privacy administration, which cites the 14th Amendment to justify late term and partial birth abortion, absolves the government of responsibly to protect private citizen’s privacy when it comes to medical records and financial information might be of interest. Obama can slowly chronicle, as outlined on page 62 and 304, why the government would require database ownership of personal and financial information.
While he’s on the subject, the President can explain, “Revision in Processing Payment Transactions by Financial Institutions” on page 64, expounding in particular on page 59 as to why government would necessitate direct access to private bank accounts to debit and transfer funds.
What is a Telehealth Advisory Committee or Expedited Data Collection would be germane to the discussion? Obama can explain why there would be mandated waiting periods for hospital readmission. Or why, as cited on page 469, Community Organizers International aka ACORN groups would promote, enroll and provide, “Community Based Home Medical Services?”
Key features of the bill can be projected on the Jumbotron. Proficient at reading off a teleprompter, Obama can read to the people, page 354, line 1177, explaining what the “authority of special needs plans to restrict enrollment” is and what that means for children with autism, cystic fibrosis, Tourette’s Syndrome and dyslexia.
State Senators can cite the10th Amendment of the Constitution, after which Obama can be grilled on page 1018 and federal intent to control “states failing to adhere to certain employment obligations.”
Town hall attendees can break at halftime hydrate and in honor of the Preventative and Wellness Trust fund on page 932, have a nutritious snack. The elderly can then query Obama on “end of life” issues. Specifically, what it means to have, “The level of treatment indicated…which may range from an indication for full treatment to an indication to limit some or all or specified interventions.”
Those over 65 might be especially interested in finding out what criteria bureaucrats apply when deciding whether the elderly receive or are denied antibiotics, artificially administered nutrition and hydration as indicated on page 430.
Winding down the event with a personal touch, the crowd could formally request President Obama enter into the public record the living will and end of life directive he claims to possess. Town hall attendees could quiz Obama as to who will be counseling his mother-in-law, Marian Robinson, on end of life issues now that she is seventy. After Obama explains government limitations on pharmaceuticals, medical supplies, wheelchairs and oxygen he can recount being trailed by personal physicians, everywhere he goes.
As a comparative benchmark, a recap of Congressional health benefits would expose parity or lack thereof between the two policies. Then, the million dollar question can be posed, without the help of the audience, phoning a friend or 50/50, “Mr. President, will you, your family, the Congress and Senate be adopting the proposed health care package?”
Considering Barack Obama’s answer and willingness to return whenever summoned by the people to another town hall, the President can exit the stadium to the refrain of either Hail to the Chief, or more suitably to Patty Smyth’s 1980’s farewell anthem, Goodbye to You.