Friday, May 15, 2009

Caterpillar Redux

Remember a while back when The One claimed that the CEO of Caterpillar told him that he would be able to put people back to work if the stimulus bill was passed, then the CEO himself said Obama was stretching the truth? Well, it's becoming a habit. This time, it's the health care industry, and, surprisingly, it's the New York Times that rats him out.
Hospitals and insurance companies said Thursday that President Obama had substantially overstated their promise earlier this week to reduce the growth of health spending.

Mr. Obama invited health industry leaders to the White House on Monday to trumpet their cost-control commitments. But three days later, confusion swirled in Washington as the companies’ trade associations raced to tamp down angst among members around the country.

After meeting with six major health care organizations, Mr. Obama hailed their cost-cutting promise as historic.

“These groups are voluntarily coming together to make an unprecedented commitment,” Mr. Obama said. “Over the next 10 years, from 2010 to 2019, they are pledging to cut the rate of growth of national health care spending by 1.5 percentage points each year — an amount that’s equal to over $2 trillion.”

Health care leaders who attended the meeting have a different interpretation. They say they agreed to slow health spending in a more gradual way and did not pledge specific year-by-year cuts.

“There’s been a lot of misunderstanding that has caused a lot of consternation among our members,” said Richard J. Umbdenstock, the president of the American Hospital Association. “I’ve spent the better part of the last three days trying to deal with it.”

Nancy-Ann DeParle, director of the White House Office of Health Reform, said “the president misspoke” on Monday and again on Wednesday when he described the industry’s commitment in similar terms. After providing that account, Ms. DeParle called back about an hour later on Thursday and said: “I don’t think the president misspoke. His remarks correctly and accurately described the industry’s commitment.”
So...let's see if we can sort this out.

The health care group put together a proposal that they could realistically support. They presented it to the Thug-In-Chief, who was not impressed with their proposals and decided they needed to "sacrifice" more. They didn't think it was financially possible. His Thugness announced his proposal as if it was their proposal. They denied it. The White House characterized the lies as misspeaking - on two separate occasions. His Thugness, unwilling to be revealed as a mere imperfect mortal, refused to take the rap and is insisting that the health care industry will make the deal he proposed. If they refuse, strongarm tactics and threats will shortly follow.

All just guesses, of course. Can't tell you how much I'd love to be proven wrong.

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