Recently, at the Jacksonville, Florida Republican Debate (JAN-26, 2012), the topic of healthcare came up as it usually does. I find healthcare to be a major issue in this country so I thought it would be interesting to analyze a little bit of what each Republican candidate had to say about it. In this debate, the topic was brought up in the form of a question from the audience. A recently unemployed woman asked the candidates,
I’m currently unemployed and I find myself unemployed for the first time in 10 years and unable to afford healthcare benefits. What type of hope can you promise me and others in my position?
With the large number of unemployed and underemployed in this country, this was a great and very relevant question for a large number of Americans.
Ron Paul said,
Medical care insurance should be given to you as an individual so if you are employed or not employed, you just take care of that and you keep it up. When you lose a job, you sometimes lose your insurance.
I agree that insurance shouldn’t be tied to your employer as these days most people go through a number of different jobs throughout their careers. However, he is also saying that since this woman lost her job that it is ok that she also lost her insurance. The best that she can do is just hope that she doesn’t develop any health issues until she can again buy insurance. That doesn’t sound like much of a solution to me.
Newt Gingrich said,
The largest challenge for this country is to get the economy growing so she can have a job, so it’s easy for her to have insurance.
Well again, she doesn’t have a job. Is there any help for her in the meantime? Once she finds a job, what about the skyrocketing cost of healthcare and insurance companies dropping people that get sick or not accepting people with pre-existing conditions?
Mitt Romney said,
What we should do is allow individuals to own their own insurance and have the same tax treatment as companies. You do that and people like this young woman would be able to own her insurance. The rates would be substantially lower for her buying it individually than if she had to buy it individually today.
Did no one hear that this woman is unemployed? Even with unemployment insurance benefits, it is doubtful that she could afford to keep her health insurance. Mitt Romney also said,
I believe the people of each state should be able to craft programs that they feel are best for their people.
Let’s suppose that each state created their own healthcare solutions. What happens if you move from that state? Instead of not being able to leave a job, you could no longer leave a state which may create even bigger problems. ObamaCare, as a federal solution, works better because it allows you to move from state to state and still keep your insurance.
Rick Santorum said,
I would just add that health savings accounts, which I introduced 20 years ago with John Kasich, is really the fundamental reform of getting consumers back involved in the healthcare system.
I guess somehow every candidate missed that this woman is unemployed. Since she is unemployed, do you think an account where she can save money is going to help her? Santorum in criticizing RomneyCare went on to say
94% of the people in Massachusetts are insured but there was just a survey that came out and said one in four don’t get the care they need because of the high cost.
I would love to see this same survey conducted nationally because there are so many people in this country that can’t afford insurance or skip going to the doctor, even though they have insurance, because they can’t afford their deductible. I think nationally it may be a lot higher than 1 in 4 that don’t get the care they need. I know that personally, I pay $1,000/month for my family’s healthcare premium (myself, my wife, and our 1 year old daughter) and we each have a $2500 deductible. I’ve found myself many times debating whether I should go to the doctor or not because of the additional expense.
I agree with the Republican’s point that we need to get people back to work and that will solve a ton of problems. However, it will not fix the major issues with our healthcare system that ObamaCare addressed. It will not fix insurance companies raising costs to make as much profit as possible. Since ObamaCare, Health and human services has already deemed some recent insurance rate increases as unreasonable. It will not fix the large amount of poor people that can’t afford insurance. It will not fix insurance companies not accepting people with pre-existing conditions. It will not fix insurance companies dropping patients that get sick so they can make more profit. It will not fix getting younger, healthier people to buy insurance to bring down the costs for older or sicker individuals. It will not fix young adults being covered on their parent’s insurance plan until they can hopefully afford insurance of their own. The problems with our healthcare system require surgery not Republican band aids. No, ObamaCare doesn’t fix everything and more problems with it are going to be discovered over time, but at least it tried to address and fix a ton of the major issues that Republicans don’t even acknowledge.