2004: Obama Claims Credit for Killing Single-Payer, Tells Critics to Read the Bill
3:59 PM, Aug 31, 2009 • By MICHAEL GOLDFARB
As the Chicago Sun-Times reports today, President Obama was involved in a very similar fight over health-care reform in 2004, when he was still a state senator in Illinois. Then, as now, Obama accused Republicans of "fear-mongering" and unfairly branding his proposal a form of "socialized medicine." But Obama did allow that his critics had some legitimate concerns. "The only thing that has happened here," Obama said, "and this is essentially what happened in this bill, the original bill on the House side, I think, would have legitimately raised some concerns with respect to some industry who might have been fearful that it was a mandate to introduce a single-payer plan. I modified this."
So Obama took credit for modifying the bill in response to concerns about a single-payer system. But Obama still pilloried the insurance industry, as he and his proxies have done in this latest effort at health care reform. The quote goes on,
In 2004, Obama encouraged his critics to read the legislation before commenting on it. Five years later, as Obama pushed a far more costly and far more consequential reform at the federal level, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs refuses to offer a straight answer about whether Obama will even read the legislation before advocating for it to the American people or signing it into law. You can listen to Obama's speech from 2004 here:
Another audio recording from the same debate between Obama and now-Rep. Peter Roskam can found here. Obama says again that his critics should read the bill. "Every time I've debated one of the bills over on that side of the aisle, I've gone to the bill," Obama said, "and if I had serious questions about it, I would at least read the bill and talk about what's in the bill, not what's not in the bill."