Post-debate thoughts

I just can’t believe that any candidate actually thinks that the reason that the economy is so bad is because of “Obamacare”. Is “Obamacare” the problem in Europe, too? Anyway, here are their answers as to what they’d do for health care reform:

  • Gov. Huntsman wants to “sit down with the 50 governors” to determine what to do. He does know that they completely disagree, right?
  • Rep. Paul wants to go all medical savings accounts. That’s not a health reform plan. They exist already. He also wants to free the markets.
  • Gov. Perry wants to create “options” for Medicare. I’m assuming he knows that Medicare Advantage exists? As for Medicaid, he wants to send it back to states. He sure has a lot of faith in their unleashed potential.
  • Mr. Cain wants HR 3000. That saves him from answering the question, but I’d love to see some CBO scoring on the effect of that bill.
  • Gov. Romney correctly believes that 30 seconds is not enough for health policy. He wants to send things back to states, allow individuals to buy insurance, and get health care to function like a “market”. And he hits tort reform. Not bad for 30 seconds.
  • Speaker Gingrich thinks answering the question of how to “replace” at all is an absurd question. Or maybe he was dinging the 30 seconds. Either way, he chose not to go into detail.
  • Rep. Bachmann thinks that attacking the costs of health insurance is the answer. She wants to “free the markets” and let all Americans use tax-free money on health care. And tort reform.
  • Sen. Santorum takes credit for HSAs. He wants consumer driven health care.

Here’s my problem with all these answers. As a number of the candidates assert, this is a complicated issue that needs more than a sound bite. So be it. They are free to get in front of a microphone anytime they like and answer the question at length. This is a huge problem. We have a health care system that costs more than any other country, by far. It’s one of the few that’s not universal. And the quality we get from it is shockingly sub-optimal. You may not like the PPACA, but it was an answer to reduce the number of uninsured.

Many of the answers the candidates gave on health care reform already exist. We have HSAs. States can apply for Medicaid waivers and experiment right now. Medicare advantage has been around for years. Tort reform has been tried, and it doesn’t reduce costs. So I want real answers. I’m as frustrated as the candidates by the 30-second format on this issue. But nothing is preventing them from speaking at other times or putting out a comprehensive and detailed plan. Why don’t they?

Plus – we really want to get rid of federal student loans? Do we think the problem is that we’re making it too easy for kids to go to college?

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