Sarah Palin has the politician’s spiel down pat. Ask her a specific question and she drones on in vague phrases and unrelated subjects. There may not be anyone better at doing this in American politics, except she does this so often that it is too obvious.
In a recent interview with Matt Lauer, she avoided providing an alternative to Obamacare, which remains the gaping hole in its critics plan to dismantle it.
Somewhere, Lauer said that only 5% of Americans are losing their old healthcare plans. Palin was right to call him out on that ridiculous number, but one good point is all Palin is capable of making per interview. After that, the interview deteriorated.
The Obamacare rollout has been a disaster. That doesn’t mean its implementation will be, but the Obama administration has to get its act together to prevent an election year catastrophe. That there are problems should not be a surprise. Every major piece of social legislation in history has had initial problems from Social Security to Medicare.
Obamacare critics want to dismantle and defund Obamacare, but the alternative, as proposed by Palin, leaves one wanting or guessing:
“The plan is to allow those things that had been proposed over many years to reform a health care system in America that certainly does need more help so that there’s more competition, there’s less tort reform threat, there’s less trajectory of the cost increases? And those plans have been proposed over and over again. And what thwarts those plans? It’s the far left. It’s President Obama and his supporters who will not allow the Republicans to usher in free market, patient-centered, doctor-patient relationship links to reform health care.”
Actually, the Obamacare plan is one of those “things that had been proposed over many years,” starting back in the 1990s as an alternative to the Clinton health care plan.
Who is against a “free market, patient-centered, doctor-patient relationship link” for medical reform? Some people will disagree with the “free market” aspect, preferring a government-run system. Obamacare is not that. There is still plenty of free market in it, which is one of the problems with the higher rates for many middle class Americans. Put a health care plan with the phrase Palin used and there will be near universal support from Americans. The problem is that it has nothing in specifics.
Palin refers to liberals thwarting previous plans put forward for reform, but she doesn’t refer to a single specific plan. According to Palin, more competition will mean fewer increases in costs. That applies to most industries operating under a free market, but it hasn’t worked over the years for medical care. Medical care is an essential service, often needed in times of an emergency. The pick and choose aspect of the free market doesn’t always apply to it. Furthermore, increasingly expensive and effective medical technologies blow a hole through any budget. Add in a system that keeps people alive at the end of life with enormous costs, and the old free market, competition approach is lacking as a solution by itself.
Palin’s free market solution misses a big selling point with Obamacare. That is the right to get insurance for pre-existing conditions without paying an exorbitant premium. Laissez-faire medicine is not going to be a path to paradise. America once had that with traveling hucksters selling miracle concoctions that didn’t do anything but fatten their wallets. If you have a pre-existing condition, then you really don’t want a solely free-market health care system.
Palin says little that is specific in her comments, except one odd phrase. She wants “less tort reform threat.” What? Usually conservatives want tort reform and pro-consumer and lawyer groups want to keep the system.
In 2009, Palin came out for tort reform, even claiming that it would save $200 billion a year on “frivolous” lawsuits. That’s a ridiculous number, but the statement highlights her confusion about tort reform. Is she for it or against it? I think she’s for it. Yet, in her comments to Lauer, she was so caught up in avoiding the specific question on alternatives to Obamacare that she doesn’t even know what she is saying.
Palin is impossible to debate because she operates in circular, twisted arguments. She also makes Tea Party hacks like Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum look like intellectual giants by comparison. It’s hard to understand what her supporters see in her.