Mitch Daniels, Talking Cents

I thought twice about that bad pun, but in the end, couldn’t resist. After all, if Governor Daniels is going to pun on raison d’être (see video below), I can’t be backing down from a measly sense/cents play.

I’m on record that Daniels is good people (I don’t just throw Larry Bird’s name around). He spoke at CPAC and, bucking the trend set by the likes of Tim Pawlenty, Mitt Romney and especially Donald Trump, decided to act like a grown-up:

This was just a week after penning a letter and corresponding WSJ Opinion piece to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius (she of the zero tolerance) explaining the ramifications of the health care legislation on the state level. For more detail on this, you can check out the latest issue of Reason, which is a solid read, but just a few blurbs:

So what does he believe should be done? Besides jettisoning the PPACA and starting over, Daniels says that it is time both parties recognize that Medicare is “completely unsustainable,” and will need to be pared back accordingly. “When infinite demand meets finite supply, you have a problem.” And his own party, which repeatedly attacked Democrats for cutting Medicare with last year’s health care overhaul, has been unwilling admit this. That’s a problem. “I didn’t think it was a very proud moment when our party decided to denounce cuts in Medicare spending. It’s going to have to happen,” he said. “To suggest that Medicare is inviolate, that you can’t ever reduce spending—that’s not helpful.” 

But the biggest change he says he’d make is to delink insurance from employment—a change that has been politically impossible because it would require many individuals to let go of their current health insurance. Letting individuals buy coverage when they’re healthy and keep it, even through job changes, would go a long way toward addressing current problems with individuals not being able to get coverage because of pre-existing conditions.

More broadly, he says he’s looking for “ways to restore the autonomy of individual Americans.” There is a “big body of evidence,” he argues, showing that when it comes to medical care, “people behave like the smart consumers they are in every other circumstance.”

All this is enough to get both Rush and Mark Levin foaming at the mouth – which leaves me simultaneously more reassured than ever that he is an extraordinarily qualified Presidential candidate and fearful that this is his high water mark.


2 thoughts on “Mitch Daniels, Talking Cents

  1. Sorry, Matt, it’s been way too long since I’ve thrown some political fodder your way. Permit me to indulge, if you would…Mitch Daniels may present himself better than other Republicans, but that doesn’t mean his ideas are significantly better. His WSJ editorial laments the cost that states will have to shoulder under the health care law — but conspicuously absent are any numbers (for sake of comparison) on how much states spent annually on health care prior to the enactment of PPACA.Thus, we know that he strongly opposes PPACA because he thinks that it will cost even more than we’re spending now. But he doesn’t present any solid numbers to back that up, other than to reference his “Healthy Indiana” program, which he says costs less than the federal mandate will. But said program still manages to leave some 11-13 percent of Hoosiers without health insurance at any given time. (Indiana actually doesn’t fare so poorly compared to other states like Texas, whose uninsured rate is somewhere near an absurd 25 percent.)Therein lies the foundational problem. We have at least 40-50 million Americans utilizing health care services without any means to pay for them (either by choice or not), thereby shifting their costs onto everyone else. This doesn’t just increase the price of those services; it increases the cost (and reduces the availability and quality) of insurance, thereby leading to even more uninsured Americans who will pass their medical bills along to others. It’s a vicious, self-perpetuating cycle. Other countries have realized that any health care system that allows anyone to go without coverage (either privately or publicly subsidized) is unsustainable. Why can’t we?For the record, I fully agree with his idea of separating insurance coverage from employment status. But that idea by itself means little if people can still go without coverage, either because they don’t want to buy it or they can’t acquire it by virtue of financial constraint or pre-existing health conditions.Will health care reform cost money? Absolutely. Does it compare in any way to the cost of simply scrapping what we’ve accomplished and trying to start all over from scratch? Not even close.Daniels (and other Republicans) seem overly attuned to the former, but delusionally ignorant of the latter.

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