Presidential Health Words 

Posted: 11:44 pm Wednesday, December 16th, 2009

By Jamie Dupree

A new theme has been evident in recent days from President Obama in the health care debate, as he has started to warn of impending doom for the United States if a health care bill is voted down in the Congress.

“The federal government will go bankrupt,” if Congress does not act, the President told ABC News in an interview broadcast on Wednesday night.

In that interview, Mr. Obama used language almost identical to stern warnings he gave after a meeting with Senate Democrats at the White House on Tuesday.

“If we don’t get this done, your premiums are guaranteed to go up,” the President said flatly.

“If this does not get done, more employers are going to drop coverage because they can’t afford it.  If this does not get done, it is guaranteed that Medicare and Medicaid will blow a hole through our budget,” he added. 

“Those things are guaranteed.”

It wasn’t a new point in the sense that Democrats have been making the argument that you can’t solve the federal government’s budget situation without solving health care issues.

But to my reporter’s ear, it seemed to be an effort by the President to step up the public warnings to a new level, that unless something gets done, terrible things might happen as a result of sticking with the status quo.

The more direct rhetoric comes as a number of polls show the public view of health reform is suffering, as more and more Americans believe the costs of health care will rise and that their own quality of care will take a hit as well.

One would think that the poll numbers might go down even more if this bill isn’t voted on soon in the Senate, one reason that Democrats are furiously trying to force action by Christmas.

But with eight shopping days left, it’s hard to tell whether we’re on the verge of action or on the verge of a major setback.