Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Grading the Big Speech: A 10-Point Citizens’ Checklist on Health Reform

by Newt Gingrich

President Obama has had a month to listen to the American people.

For a month, angry Americans have gone to town hall meetings in large numbers to oppose more spending, more government, and more Washington centered bureaucracy.

For a month, the polls have gotten worse and worse for big spending, big deficit, high taxes, and big government.

But on Labor Day, President Obama gave us a sign he hasn't been listening. He gave a campaign-style speech in which he accused his critics of spreading "lies" and failing to offer their own solutions for health care reform.

Tonight President Obama has another opportunity to show us if he's willing to listen to us, or to his party's leftwing.

Below is a ten-point checklist you can use to judge for yourself.
Facing a Far Left Revolt, the President Has a Choice to Make

In his speech to Congress this evening, President Obama has a choice to make.

He has to choose between listening to what the American people are telling him, and what the Left is telling him.

A recent Gallup poll revealed that only 13% of the American people want permanently expanded government.

In sharp contrast, the liberal base of the President's party views government run health care as nonnegotiable.

The Left is already threatening primary opposition to President Obama if he doesn't stick with them and seek to impose radical change on the American people.

As MSNBC's Keith Olbermann said last week "If it's necessary to find somebody else to run against him, I think liberals would do it, no matter how destructive that may seem".

Despite the Hard Line of the Left, Health Care Reform Is Still Possible

Despite the intransigence on the Left, bipartisan health reform supported by a huge majority of Americans is still possible.

The question is whether the President can reach out to the majority of us.

So to understand the President's speech tonight -- his most important speech since his Inaugural address -- do these three things:

Forget the details.

Forget the rhetoric.

And ask yourself this:

Is this a speech designed to bring together Americans to pass bipartisan health reform?

Or is this a speech designed to appease the Left?

Here's a ten-point checklist to help you decide for yourself. Print it out and use it to judge the President's speech tonight.

1. In his proposals for reform, does the President include litigation reform, which 84% of Americans believe will help reduce costs and which is the number one goal of doctors in any health reform?
2. Does he include a section onsaving money by stopping payments to crooks who are bilking the taxpayers for $70-120 billion each year in Medicare and Medicaid fraud? For 88 percent of Americans, this is the first place they would look to find savings in our health care system. Is President Obama willing to look there?
3. Does his speech reject higher taxes, which the vast majority of Americans believe will make the current economy even worse and increase unemployment even more?
4. Does it reject all government rationing of health services which the American people have vocally opposed at town hall meetings across the country?
5. Does it reject any government run, bureaucratic health plan?
6. Is President Obama open to four or five bipartisan bills which could pass with big bipartisan majorities? Or does he insist on a single omnibus bill of 1000-plus pages like the one that failed when Mrs. Clinton tried to pass it in 1993-1994?
7. Is he for sustaining the Senate rule of 60 votes to ensure a bill that has wide, bipartisan support? Or is he prepared to destroy long-standing Senate tradition and ram through a radical bill with 51 votes?
8. Does President Obama give any indication he is forincreasing the power, information and choice of the individual and their doctor or is he giving more power to the government?
9. Does he focus on health, wellness, prevention, early detection and health management to avoid or control the severity of chronic diseases? Or does he spend his time talking only about acute care?
10. Does his plan invest in science and technology in order to increase innovation and accelerate the discovery and adoption of new discoveries and breakthroughs in diseases such as Alzheimer's, cancer and diabetes?

Share Your Scores With Me At

When the speech is over, look over your check list.

Each "yes" is worth 10 percent.

Each failure is worth zero.

Share your score with me at

And ask yourself this:

How close did the President come to a plan the American people actually want?

Your friend,

Newt Gingrich

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