Each election cycle we hear of how many Americans are uninsured. The numbers are often very large, although many Americans do qualify for Medicare and simply do not apply until they actually need to see a doctor. The numbers are high even when you minus out those that have not used the insurance available to them.
While trekking the hilly landscape of upstate New York, some young Republicans expressed their concern with the Democrats’ plan, and how expensive it will be. “The Republicans really never put out a plan, however. It’s always the same market based – leave it alone system,” I explained to them. You could hear crickets blinking their eyes it was so quiet. They don’t like to hear that.
The issue of health care should never have been abandoned by conservatives. No party should own the issue. If the Republicans had simply put out a plan that covers all children, and left the current system relatively untouched, it would have played well across the country. It is a way of matching the No Child Left Behind approach, but with heath care. (No Child Left Behind, as much as it was maligned for not being funded properly, was effective in raising math and reading scores).
People need to earn their way and pull their weight, and no one wants the United States to turn into France. There is, however, no reason to not insure children. They cannot be held to hold the bag for parents that have had bad luck, or have made poor choices. We always have money for war; we can find money for sick kids.
This is the plan that the new, smaller GOP needs to embrace. It’s a government-sponsored program (not necessarily a government program), but it’s a lot better than a giant health care plan that will put a hole in the nation’s economy. It also speaks to family values, as well as frees up some money for parents to spend elsewhere – into the economy.
This plan, however, would have to – HAVE TO – come with a real immigration policy. The idea that all children would have some basic coverage would be tempting to a population of would-be immigrants that already needs no more of an incentive to come here illegally. It is time for the country to start taking care of its own. It is time to look inward.
Without jumping to conclusions, and simply going from campaign rhetoric, we do not have much to believe that we will protect our southern border to any real degree. This would be no different if John McCain had been elected. McCain, President Bush, and the new Democratic administration, are all on relatively similar pages on the immigration issue.
The healthcare issue is a serious one. If done right, it can be used as a bargaining tool with rogue countries that have their own healthcare problems. We could share this kind of innovative thought and new technology. Where we used to trade arms as a means of negotiation – we can trade better ideas.
But if we want to help the bottom of economy, we are in no position to saturate that bottom by adding to it. A health-care plan is weighty on a government’s balance sheet. Just look at Hawaii’s state government. They tried their own healthcare plan, which may well be the boilerplate for new healthcare plans in Washington. The Hawaii model failed in 11 months however. If we learned anything from Hillary’s health care plan in the 1990s, it is that the most important part of a plan is how efficient it is – at least when it comes to a vote in congress.