GOP Healthcare Reform

I was wrong. All this time, I thought that the Republicans were not aware that the current health care system is unsustainable. I thought they were just being obstructionist and trying to block all that President Obama is trying to accomplish for political gain. I was set straight with an e-mail from Michael Steele, Chairman of the Republican National Committee (RNC). The “Senior’s Health Care Bill of Rights” being promoted by Republicans calls for (quoting from the e-mail):

  • Protecting Medicare and not cutting it in the name of “health care reform.”
  • Outlawing any effort to ration health care based on age;
  • Preventing government from interfering with end-of-life care discussions;
  • Ensuring seniors can keep their current coverage; and,
  • Protecting veterans by preserving Tricare and other benefit programs for military families.

Still quoting here, “contrary to what the Obama Democrats and liberal mainstream media say, Republicans want cost-effective, common sense, incremental health care reform — not the rush-job Democrats are pushing that will hurt American families, small businesses and health care providers.” See?  I was wrong.

Michael Steele’s assertion has a few issues, though. First, the current legislation under consideration already complies with all that Michael Steele is advocating. Since this is aimed at seniors, one would expect the AARP to have an opinion about what the Republicans are offering to seniors. It turns out that they do[1].  In a press release, AARP Executive Vice President John Rother, stated “AARP agrees with Chairman Michael Steele’s goals for reforming our health care system, and we are pleased nothing in the bills that have been proposed would bring about the scenarios the RNC is concerned about.” Apparently Chairman Steele doesn’t understand the difference between being a leader and jumping in front of the parade.

Of course, those with only a smattering of critical thinking skills can see what is going on here. He is making an inference that the Democrats are in favor of cutting Medicare, rationing health care, etc. It is a strawman rhetorical fallacy. It’s demagoguery. If it wasn’t demagoguery, congressional Republicans would be offering alternatives in the form of legislative proposals, and those proposals would be marketed by the RNC as an honest alternative.

In his e-mail, Michael Steele also accuses the “liberal mainstream media” of parroting the Democrats “lies in an endless loop.” So let’s take a look at some not-so-liberal media and see what they have to say. The Wall Street Journal is owned by News Corporation – the same folks that own Fox News.  The WSJ reports in 1981, Ronald Reagan proposed cutting $1 billion from the then-$40 billion dollar Medicare program. As part of the “Contract With America”, congressional Republicans proposed deep cuts in Medicare and Medicaid to pay for tax cuts.[2] If anything, the core of the Republican party has moved to the right since the 1980s. Do you really trust Republicans to preserve Medicare with a track record like that?

Health care spending accounted for 14.1% of GDP in 2001 and is growing.[3] I think the numbers being tossed around put it at about 16% now. It is a serious fiscal issue and a serious social issue. Many consider it a moral issue as well. I share the concerns of Republicans and blue dog Democrats about how to pay for the program. This is a hard problem. We need serious people to discuss it – and the more, the better.

Unfortunately, it appears there are no longer any serious folks left in the Republican party.

References:

[1] http://www.aarp.org/aarp/presscenter/pressrelease/articles/gop_steele_reaction.html
[2] http://online.wsj.com/article/SB125112553661853921.html
[3] http://www.karlloren.com/healthinsurance/p1.htm

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2 Responses to “GOP Healthcare Reform”

  1. jonolan Says:

    The are a number of serious people in the GOP. They’re not being listened to by the anti-American Liberals or their pet media.

    If they were being listened to, HR. 3400 wouldn’t be essentially dead in committee – the committees all being run by Liberals – and would be getting some attention as an alternative measure by the MSM.

  2. Noel Says:

    “anti-American Liberals”? I didn’t think that there were any liberals in the Republican Party. Plenty of anti-Americans, though.

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