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Dose of truth for Obama

March 19, 2010

By Michael Graham/Boston Herald

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Forget “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.” All Mrs. Martin had to do was stay in her seat, and she landed another blow against Obamacare.

Mrs. Martin, aka Ingrid, is an unemployed health care professional from Ohio. A friend took her along to see President Barack Obama’s “Health Care Hallelujah” speech in Strongsville Monday, where she wound up in the front row, listening in disbelief.

“I crossed my hand and bit my lips a couple of time, and when he made his Medicare claim I said ‘no, no, no,’ ” she told me yesterday.

While she kept her reactions more in line with Justice Sam Alito’s, the president must have noticed. As he shook hands after the speech, he asked her, “Are you OK?”

“ ‘Yes, sir, I’m fine,’ I told him. ‘I just don’t support your bill,’ ” she said. “And at that point, security and everyone stopped.”

And so it came to pass that, for two minutes, Obama and an informed citizen who doesn’t support his plan shared some straight talk. Well, Martin talked straight, anyway.

“He asked me what I would do, and I said the problem is that he’s doing insurance reform, but the problem is really the cost of medical care itself. I said we should fix things that are driving costs up, like defensive medicine and the need for tort reform,” she said. “He told me the bill handled all that, and I said ‘Well, I don’t believe it.’ ”

Ingrid Martin, of Brunswick, Ohio, called out the President of the United States. And at his own pep rally, to boot. “Oh my gosh, I’m calling the president a liar,” she said afterward.

The conversation went along politely and the president promised to send Martin some information to answer her questions. What didn’t happen is the president explaining how cutting $500 billion out of Medicare while adding more people to the rolls is going to “make its finances more secure.”

Obama didn’t answer the question because he can’t. Even Congressional Budget Office director Douglas Elmendorf agrees with Martin, saying “to pay future Medicare benefits and financing new spending outside of Medicare with the same $500 billion in ‘savings’ would essentially double-count . . . and thus overstate the improvement in the government’s fiscal position.”

This is where Obamacare is. Everyone knows it won’t work. As liberal Sen. Dick Durbin just admitted, “Anyone who would stand before you and say well, if you pass health care reform next year’s health care premiums are going down, I don’t think is telling the truth.”

And that “anyone” would be the president.

Voters across America – and particularly here in Massachusetts – are focused on the question of policy. Will this 2,400-page “deem and pass” Washington monstrosity get me a better doctor or better medicine at a better price? We’ve figured out the answer is no, which is why the latest WSJ/NBC poll has opposition to Obamacare at 48 percent, a new high. Only 36 percent of Americans support it.

But Democrats aren’t even talking policy anymore. They’re all about the politics. They’ve got to pass a bill – any bill – to save this inept poseur of a president from himself.

That’s the worst part of Ingrid Martin’s encounter with Obama. It showed the facts don’t matter. The trillion-dollar debt doesn’t matter.

And none of those Democrats in Congress understands the consequences of this bill as well as one unemployed woman in Ohio.

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