His son and partner, David Bottoms, was to have been the speaker but his flight from Miami was delayed, so his dad filled in.
He brought along a copy of Obama's new law - all 2,700 pages.
"David has read it all," he said. "You can look through it and see all the notes and highlights he made."
Incidentally, numerous top Democrats who voted for the bill - and even Obama himself - admitted they had not read the bill.
"There is a lot of interest in this issue, and there needs to be, is because the regulations that back this up are going to be more voluminous than even this," Bottoms said. "Something's got to change, because employers are maxed out. They've had it. And it's getting to the end of the bone now. So some type of reform was needed."
The first big change in our health system came during World War II. The government imposed wage and price controls, but said employers could offer health-provided benefits to attract workers.
In 1954, Bottoms said, the tax code was changed to make it possible for employers to deduct premiums, which gradually led to "richer" plans.
By the time John F. Kennedy was elected president the mood was shifting toward more government involvement in health care, and that came to fruition when Medicare was passed under President Johnson in 1965. Costs of the program were projected to be $8.8 billion by 1990. In reality, they were more than $65 billion, Bottoms said.
So in 1983 a fee schedule was put in place for Medicare reimbursements.
"That introduced bureaucratic mandates for each procedure, and introduced cost-shifting into the equation," he said.
He added that 65 percent of revenues into Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta are now from Medicare or Medicaid, and seven percent of its budget goes to indigent care.
Health care costs as a share of Gross Domestic Product have gone steadily up over the decades, although that in part is due to longer lifespans and the natural desire by patients to "have the best" and most expensive care, he said.
"If you have a hernia operation, you're going to want the best doctor you can to do it and not ask too many questions about the cost because someone else is going to be paying for most of it. People need skin in the game. We haven't had much as individuals in terms of caring what things cost."
"Living longer is a good thing, but it's expensive," he added.
Obama said at one point in the debate that if you like the health insurance plan you have, you can keep it.
"But that will be hard to do," Bottoms warned.
The bill says that if your plan changes, it loses its grandfathered status under the law. But most plans will have to change in order to conform with the new law. So there goes your plan. And so much for the president's "promise."
So how will Obama's plan be paid for?
There will be a tax on high wage earners in the form of health industry fees, a tax on those individuals who fail to obtain coverage, a tax on high-cost health plans, a disallowed deduction for certain retiree prescription drug plans, changes to deductions allowed for medical expenses and even a tax on indoor tanning beds. (That's one tax this columnist doesn't have to worry about paying.)
The Obama plan requires all citizens and legal residents to purchase qualified health insurance coverage. The penalty for non-compliance will be either a fine or a percentage of your income - whichever is higher, Bottoms warned.
n In 2014 the percentage of income determining the fine amount will be 1 percent, then 2 percent in 2015, with the maximum fine of 2.5 percent of taxable (gross) household income capped at the average bronze-level insurance premium (60 percent actuarial) rate for the person's family beginning in 2016.
n The alternative is a fixed dollar amount that phases in beginning with $325 per person in 2015 to $695 in 2016.
In other words, it's not going to be cheap to try to dodge the new law.
For more on the new law, or for more on Bottoms' presentation, go to www.thebottomsgroup.com/docs
"The good news is that people seem to be engaged in the process," Bottoms said. "They're concerned. Is this going to be repealed? No. As long as Obama is president, the chances of it being repealed are very slim. But there are real concerns about whether the numbers work or not."
Bill Kinney is associate editor of the Marietta Daily Journal.