Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Health Care and the Nobel Peace Prize

October 8th, 2009

President Obama this morning: “I will accept this award as a call to action, a call to all nations to confront the common challenges of the 21st Century.”

I was in a private meeting last week where I heard a longtime and influential Washington insider describe her view of the Obama health care effort. Her point was that the White House has approached the effort more from an ego perspective than a solid policy effort. That this is more about scoring a “W” over health care and therefore making a mark on history than it is actually being prepared to really reform the system.

Looking at the Baucus bill, and its hodgepodge of policy decisions aimed at getting Senate votes far more than working to make health care affordable and “bending the cost curve,” I can see that logic.

The President had an enormous opportunity to show real humility this morning by doing what about 80% of the country, and probably the world judging from today’s press reports, very much would have wanted him to do—say this is nuts and that he will pass until the day he can hopefully demonstrate real accomplishments that merit the award.

I really hope President Obama does win the Nobel Peace Prize—in 2017 when he would leave office with hopefully many noble accomplishments.

But this response to so ridiculous a decision by the Nobel Committee only makes me wonder about those remarks my friend made about ego.

Back home in the Midwest I know exactly what they are thinking today: This guy needs some come-up-ins to get that ego under control.

So, what’s the next big goal on his agenda to change us all?

Health care.

This president, by accepting this award, just might have unwittingly created even more opposition to his health care efforts if only because he has today dramatically increased the cynicism directed at his administration.

Give me a break.
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