The president marked the fourth anniversary of Hurrican Katrina by remarking on his administration's preparedness for the next storm and other disaster. He first used a dubious statistic. He claimed that over 1000 people died as a result of Hurrican Katrina, though he also once claimed that 10,000 people died from a tornado in Kansas. (that number was closer to ten) He promised to cut red tape, coordinate, and make government more responsive for the next disaster. It all sounds good but ultimately these are all just words. We'll see how prepared the government is if we ever have another storm or other disaster like Katrina. The president also spoke about H1N1 and encouraged everyone to go to http://www.ready.gov/ for ways they can be prepared for and guard against catching H1N1.
Mike Enzi, Senator from Wyoming, delivered the Republican response. In the movie, Top Gun, Tom Cruise' character once used the term "target rich environment" to describe a bar full of good looking women. Attacking the Democrats' health care bill, provides a "target rich environment" in that there is so much to attack. The problem, if you will, for Enzi is that he only had five minutes. He focused mostly on costs and the projections that the CBO gave about the bill. By this, the CBO predicted that the bill would increase medical costs and it would add to the deficit. He also talked about the portion of the bill that creates "comparative research" which would determine which are the most cost effective procedures. That's a nice sounding idea but in reality, it would be a government bureaucracy that would determine which procedures doctors can and cannot continue performing.
Enzi proposed allowing for health insurance to be sold across state lines, health savings accounts, and tort reform. Those have become the mantra of the Republicans and it's working. All polls say the Dems health care bill is disintegrating and this latest attack continues with the same talking points that have created this dynamic.
This has been called a watershed moment because Enzi is one of the gang of six. That's three Democrats and three Republicans that are in the Senate's finance committee that are trying to create a compromise. Enzi excoriated the Democrats for their "go it alone" attitude, and so, it appears that a bi partisan compromise is on life support.