Eric Bradner, writing for the Evansville Courier Press, reports that Dick Lugar is concerned that health care is too costly at a time when we already have huge deficits.
Major health care reform is too costly an undertaking with federal deficit spending already ballooned, Sen. Richard Lugar told crowds at several stops on the first day of a two-day visit to Evansville.
. . .
“This is not an appropriate time for our government to adopt a comprehensive, whole-scale change in the health care system of the country,” Lugar said late Tuesday afternoon.
Let’s not kid ourselves. If it doesn’t happen now, it’s not going to happen. This country has been talking about health care reform for 50 years. The Clinton attempts were throttled in their cradle. Reagan, Bush I, and Bush II, didn’t make any efforts that I’m aware of. The current system has only gotten worse. Part of the problem is some sort of fundamental cognitive dissonance in our citizenry. The other day, I was trying to collect a medical debt from an individual who hadn’t paid his bill off in 5 years of me pushing. He was talking about how tough times were, how he couldn’t get insurance because of his pre-existing conditions, and then got off on a tangent about how the country was veering toward socialism and started channeling Fox News on health care. Then he said something like “but I’m paying, and I’m not relying on the State!” My jaw may have dropped a bit — he’s paying small portions of his bills in dribs and drabs, meanwhile the hospital has, in effect, given him an involuntary loan — and he’s proud of his self-reliance? He didn’t recognize the fact that –having to talk to me in court was a pretty strong indicator that he had failed to live up to his responsibilities.
But, I digress. Senator Lugar is now concerned about deficits. I am too. In fact, from about 1988 – 2002, it was by far my number one concern. Since then, the country has taken such a detour that it has gone down the priority list a few notches for me. But, the fact is, we would be in a pretty strong position to address health care if the Clinton tax structure had remained in place through the Bush II years and had we not voluntarily and for no good reason elected to go piss away money and lives in Iraq. Using those colossal mistakes — which opponents of health care reform generally favored — to bolster the argument against changing the status quo in health care seems to be rewarding bad behavior. All too many of the born-again fiscal conservatives didn’t raise any serious questions about the cost of the Iraq adventure (I’m looking at you, Blue Dogs.) The message I’m getting is that billions for discretionary military activities are o.k. but if the money might make poor or middle class people’s lives a little better, we’d better pinch pennies until Lincoln cries.
And, frankly, I’m not entirely convinced on the expense argument. We spend more per capita on health care than other industrialized nations and get worse results. We’re Americans – we should be able to do better. The money is already being spent, we’re just not getting the results.