I don't know about you, but I heard absolutely nothing new in President Barack Obama's speech to Congress last night. As a reiteration of previous statements and speeches, I don't think it was deserving of a joint session or national television coverage.
He said what he's said before and didn't add to the discussion. It sounded more like a campaign speech designed to 'put to shame' those he considers his opponents, though I do not believe he succeeded.
If he'd presented something new or announced a major policy change, I would feel differently. But he didn't, and I don't.
I've read H.R. 3200, America's Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009, and I know that many of the things he stated in his speech are not true.
While the bill does say that illegal immigrants are not to be covered, it does not include any way of identifying who is or is not a citizen. Because there is no way of verifying citizenship before providing coverage, it is likely that illegal immigrants can be covered under this bill.
Obama said that you can keep your coverage if you want. However ... the bill says that all plans must meet certain criteria established by the government in order to 'qualify' as 'benefit plans.' If your employer does not meet those criteria, you will be required to change to a plan that has the government mandates. That's not 'keeping your coverage' - that's the government deciding what coverage you MUST have and then penalizing you and/or the employer if you don't.
He said that this will not add to the deficit, though every entity that has examined the bill says that it will. Obama says that savings and efficiencies will cover the extra costs. If there are savings and efficiencies to be had - do them now! Prove to the American public that they do exist and show us exactly how much they will produce in dollars and cents. Then - and only then - could you go forward with 'utilizing' those savings to pay for an expansion of government. (Personally, I'd like any 'savings' returned to the taxpayers, but I realize that's not the thinking of our politicians.)
He said he's open to other ideas. Two ideas expressed loudly and often at the town hall meetings and by many in emails and phones calls are tort reform and interstate competition (allowing insurance companies to sell products across state lines). Here are two prominent ideas that a majority of Americans believe would help provide instant reform. They are not even considered as part of the bill, nor were they addressed by the president. How 'open' to ideas are you if you continue to ignore those two concepts that the majority of Americans support?
In the end, it was the same old-same old from the President and I don't believe it swayed the public one way or the other.
If you'd like another perspective on the speech, I recommend Erick Erickson's post at RedState.com