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Monday, November 25, 2013

Health Insurance, Politics, and Governance

Here's the deal.  Elected officials are put into office by people who expect them to do the right thing, to protect the interests of the people of their state.  That is, according to the founding fathers, the reason to go into politics.  It is not for personal gain but for the greater good.  We all know that the ideal politician is now an out and out fairy tale, but the issue of expanding Medicare is a story to watch in terms of what a governor is doing--or not doing--for their people.

The New York Times has a piece on how this issue in particular is splitting the Republican party.  I am not a fan of the Ronald Reagan edict that the greatest sin a Republican can commit is to disagree publicly with another Republican.  It goes against the premise that the best government is one that is based on compromise between two opposing parties--if one of them vows to never oppose it's members, then where is the ground upon which to build compromise?  In any case, the Affordable Health Care's expansion of Medicaid and a state's decision to accept that Federal aid, is a place where change may occur.

Governors who oppose the expansion have largely been silent on two things--on is that we as a society are already paying for the catastrophic health care that this population receives, and that if that money were spent on prevention it would likely be cheaper in both the short run and the long run.  Not to mention that those affected would have a better quality of life, and without health problems, they might be more productive members of the community, able to participate in the economy and pay taxes.  They also fail to explain what their solution to the problem of the uninsured is, and that is a critical missing piece.  It is easy to say why they don't like it, but what do they propose to do about the problem?  My hope is that the governors who make the decision to place their constituency above their party are rewarded in the end, and that those who do not retire from public office.

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