Reform and Heart-Head Rhetoric
are not liberal at twenty, you have no heart; if you are not conservative at
forty, you have no brain.
think it’s comical
nature does contrive
boy and every gal,
either a little Liberal,
a little Conservative!
I see by the various polls that roughly 60%% of Democrat millenials are voting for Sanders and about 60% of the middle class, 45 and older, are voting for Clinton. Similar percentage align themselves for retention
or repeal of ObamaCare.
What’s going on here is dualism. The young are idealistic. The middle class and older folks are
realistic. Or, to put it a little
differently. The young are all heart,
the older are all head.
Young millenials find themselves in a bind. They may be idealistic, but many cannot find a job. Why not, then, vote for a Democratic socialist? He promises a free college education and
free health care, both largely at someone else’s expense, and maybe, just maybe, a job at rebuilding the nation’s
infrastructure. Besides, Medicare-for-all has a nice ring to it.
Somewhere in between are 75% of voters, namely, the non-millenials, split between
liberals, independents, and conservatives.
These non-millenials have been
around the block, and they have seen the consequences of liberalism – the worse
recovery from a recession since World War II with a sluggish 2% GDP growth, a
10% drop in wages and personal wealth, and a increase in health premiums of 20%
to 40% in some states.
On the other hand, they have witnessed a decline in the uninsured from 15% to 1o%, from 48 million to 30 million, of the
population in round numbers. As a fair-minded people, they know this decline is not
Which brings me to the
nub of the health-heart-head problem – whether to retain or repeal
ObamaCare? The answer, it’s fair to
say, is still very much up in the air.
If you retain the law,
the 10 million who have been subsidized
and the 10 million who have taken refuge in Medicaid are safe from those hard-hearted
If you repeal the law, you may return to a more prosperous economy,
with smaller government, less taxes and less regulations, more choice of doctors with lower premiums, and
a more hard-headed approach to the limitations of government and its excessive
spending and budget deficits.
But what about those 10 million souls who the government has
subsidized to give them access to health insurance? Surely you can’t throw them overboard
In this setting, the
conservatives have began to formulate
their alternative to ObamaCare. In general, conservatives and Republicans have a six-point
1) Retain employer
coverage for Americans, half the population.
2) Offer tax credits
for all who qualify.
3) Assure continuous coverage protection regardless of place
4) Reform Medicaid by allowing states to handle their distinct
5) Reform Medicare for new members, by allowing them to join
the old Medicare or enter the new managed Medicare ranks.
6) Expand health
savings accounts to allow workers to pick and choose and negotiate their choice
of plans and set aside unspent health dollars for a rainy day. (Lanhee Chen and James Capretta; “Instead of
ObamaCare; Giving Health-Care Power to the People,: WSJ, January 25. 2015).
This plan and other plans rely on hard-headed approaches to
health reform. The plans promise to
cover just as many people as ObamaCare, but it is still not clear specifally how they would handle those already subsidized by
Therein lies the political rub, the choice between heart and head.