Challenges Facing Healthcare Reform
This morning at the keynote session for CLMA's ThinkLab '09, held May 2-5 at the Tampa (FL) Convention Center, political analyst Charlie Cook entertained and informed audience members. According to CLMA Immediate Past President (as of today) JoAnne Milbourne, Cook is one of Washington's most influential political analysts. He is also publisher of The Cook Political Report and is an analyst for NBC News.
Cook spoke in layman's terms about the historical importance about the last election and gave insight into why President Obama won the election. He also wasn't afraid to add a little humor into his lecture, comparing former president Bill Clinton to a dog who just wants to be loved and President Obama to a cool cat.
When it comes to politics, healthcare is a big issue on the federal agenda. But, Cook unfortunately pointed out, so are a ton of other issues right now. The environment, education and that other big "e" word everyone loves--the economy--are all huge, important issues that also need to be addressed with the current administration. Cook mentioned no president since FDR has had to face so many huge issues when entering office than Obama has.
Cook said Obama is trying to accomplish some of the same things with healthcare Clinton tried in 1993-1994, but Clinton "went about it all wrong." Cook believed Obama may have a better shot at reforming healthcare because of how high his approval rating is right now--over 60 percent.
However, he faces a few obstacles. Although there is a nationwide calling for the current healthcare system to change, Cook noted some very influential sectors believe nothing needs to change with the current system.
He also noted Democrats are pushing that there ought to be at least one public health insurance plan to go along with all the private ones, but insurance companies are not too happy about this idea.
Cook said the cost of the proposed healthcare reform will be one trillion to one trillion and half dollars over the next 10 years.
"A trillion is a lot of zeros. When you just bailed out Wall Street and put a lot of money into the auto companies and banks...wow! This is a whole lot of zeros," Cook said. "At what point does the American public start gagging over the zeros?"