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Mike Huckabee's Plan to Socialize and Bankrupt the United States of America

PH2009072701670.jpgYou might not know that Mike Huckabee records radio commentaries for ABC News. I didn't. But Sam Stein of the Huffington Post has been listening to the missives and came across this gem, aired hours after Ted Kennedy's death:

[W]hen Sen. Kennedy was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer at 77, did he give up on life and go home to take pain pills and die? Of course not. He freely did what most of us would do. He chose an expensive operation and painful follow up treatments. He saw his work as vitally important and so he fought for every minute he could stay on this earth doing it. He would be a very fortunate man if his heroic last few months were what future generations remember him most for.

I want to see improvements in health care, too. But I think a better way to honor Ted Kennedy would be to ensure that every American has access to the latest private health care, as good as what senators receive.

There are two policy prescriptions in play here. The first is that every American should receive the same treatments that the richest, most powerful American gets. Access to health care, in other words, should be governed by need, not by price. Karl Marx would be so proud. The second is that every American should choose "an expensive operation and follow up treatments," as Ted Kennedy did. If every American is encouraged to choose the path of maximal treatment, and if every American has full access to the same treatments as the richest Americans, that would, in fairly short order, bankrupt the country.

It's not easy to awaken my inner-Ayn Rand. But if Huckabee gets control of the health-care sector, I'm going Galt.

Photo credit: Gregory Smith - AP.

By Ezra Klein  |  September 1, 2009; 9:51 AM ET
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As I have said many times, my worry with national healthcare is not that we will have to ration- its that our politicians are utterly incapable of rationing and we will never be able to hold down costs because politicans have no incentive to. With just 15% of the population covered by medicare the topic politicians are already petrified of proposing any sort of reasonable cost controls- think about how much worse that would be if 50% of the population were covered by socialized healthcare. I believe that our politicial system is completely incapable of holding down costs and quotes like this are exactly why.

Posted by: spotatl | September 1, 2009 10:01 AM | Report abuse

Americans already do have access to the healthcare Senators receive. Most just can't afford it.

Posted by: Drew_Miller_Hates_IDs_That_Dont_Allow_Spaces | September 1, 2009 10:43 AM | Report abuse

Very well put. The logical incoherence of some conservatives is always a fun topic!

Posted by: ErininAtlanta | September 1, 2009 10:59 AM | Report abuse

well first off what senators have isn't private. The risk isn't managed. Its just handed to Senators and Reps to abuse the system just like the cadillac plans do that our friends at the SEIU love. And what's not to love. Low costs, everything's covered. My God its utopia!!

And wouldn't (HR 676) who many around here worship do the same thing? If we gave Medicare to everyone for example its costs would explode (its fraud would be catastrophic) and it would close hospitals with razor thin margins.

Posted by: visionbrkr | September 1, 2009 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Ah, visionbrkr, telling people that getting health care is "abusing the system." Please, visionbrkr.

Federal employees' FEHB programs have everyone searching for doctors in-network and depending on referrals and a series of escalating co-pays. The difference is that the system benefits from an extremely large risk pool, meaning that the insurance company is in less of a position to screw over the employer, since the employer has a much stronger market position and isn't at the mercy of an insurance company that's going to jack up its rates simply because one employee got cancer, thus making the insurance company view the employees as "unclean."

The question is what would have happened if TK wasn't a 77 year old senator but a 40 year old employee at a small print shop. In that case, the insurance company would have boosted the rates through the roof, leading the employer to decide that the best way to cut costs would be to lay off his cancer-stricken employee, satisfying the insurance company's demand for a "clean" risk pool.

Posted by: constans | September 1, 2009 11:54 AM | Report abuse

*it would close hospitals with razor thin margins.*

Are you sure? In that case, the hospitals and doctors would know that every single patient would be able to pay. No more futile efforts at pursuing patients who can't pay until the hospital decides to write off the charge. No more people who walk into the emergency room saying, "someone just came out and shot me!" and then walking away leaving the doctors in the lurch once they get treatment.

You know, it's kind of funny how on one hand you mock everyone for getting too much treatment that's too good, costing too much money, and then think that hospitals would have to close if the hospitals actually got paid for treating people who can't pay, rather than passing the costs on to everyone else.

Posted by: constans | September 1, 2009 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Dr Constans so good to see you again. No the abuse of the system is the overuse of some. Do people need daily catscans to make sure their cancer hasn't reoccured? So wait its BAD when an insurer manages it but GOOD when governemnt does? Did you realize that insurers profits in 2006 were 15+ billion but annual fraud and abuse of the system costs at least 4x that. Maybe we should leave it all up to government so that the fraud and abuse can be 10x, maybe 15x.

And your example of a 40 year old print shop worker is why we need everyone accountable and everyone paying into the system. Sure lop insurers profits to next to nothing. I'm fine with that. But don't get rid of the one group that truly cuts down fraud and abuse of the system. Well unless you're one of the abusers. Then its YAY Government healthcare!!

And insurers boost the rate as you say it because of the acutal cost of care. If you had a clue to that you would know. All the laws in reform show an 85% loss ratio, the greatest in the nation and spread througout the country. If that isn't enough then maybe the truth is not that you want the public plan to compete but that you want to take it over. Just admit what you're trying to do and the American people will judge for themselves if they want it. If not they're just another lying politician trying to push an agenda. The question is for whom?

Posted by: visionbrkr | September 1, 2009 12:14 PM | Report abuse

And in visionbrkr's fantasy world, the insurers need to punish the small companies with the misfortune to have sick employees because he thinks that every person who gets cancer is a fraud risk.

The reason why federal employees don't face that problem is that the risk pool is so large that insurance companies can't play their cream-skimming games while accusing everyone of criminal behavior but themselves.

Posted by: constans | September 1, 2009 12:29 PM | Report abuse


no but thanks for putting words in my mouth. In my world small employer's can purchase across state lines to reduce their cost and increase competition to a handful of insurers to hundreds if not more.

And when we get rid of pre-ex because everyone's covered then we don't have your cream skimming argument do we Dr. Constans?

And its not just small companies that get punished by this (but how would you know that since you don't live in or anywhere near this world). Many large companies pay more for healthcare than smaller companies. In my world the healthy THAT HAVE INSURANCE would help pay for the sick so their costs would go up some from that but not nearly as much because everyone is required to have coverage.

Posted by: visionbrkr | September 1, 2009 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Totally disingenous strawman representation of the argument. But then, you already knew that, didn't you Ezra?

Posted by: whoisjohngaltcom | September 1, 2009 1:04 PM | Report abuse

I'm with vision. Anyone who isn't smart enough to be totally healthy and with good insurance via a top-notch job IS A LEECH! Screw them!

Posted by: AZProgressive | September 1, 2009 2:21 PM | Report abuse

This post is one reason wny I've felt that Huck belongs in the Democratic party as much as he does the GOP. Hopefully, a more moderate Newt-Mitt will win the nomination in '12 over Palin/Huck. I would certainly vote for Obama over Huck.

Posted by: Dellis2 | September 1, 2009 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Ezra, Ezra, Ezra...Have you been paying any attention at all to the political scene in America? How do can you expect anyone to take your comments seriously when you obviously know nothing about Mike Huckabee's positions? This article is nothing but smear journalism. I'll be sure to put your name down on my list of partans totally lacking in journalistic integrity.

Posted by: mat241 | September 1, 2009 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Seriously Ezra, I'm with Mat. How dare you use Huckabee's own words to define what his policies are? It's pure partisan hackery to note the logical consequence's of a politician's beliefs. If only journalists had the integrity to mindlessly parrot the talking points they are given.

Posted by: etdean1 | September 1, 2009 3:29 PM | Report abuse


you see now you don't realize that i'm for an end to pre-ex as long as it comes with an individual mandate. When that happens I'll make sure to get you a good plan with solid mental health benefits.

Posted by: visionbrkr | September 1, 2009 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Let's see - Mike Huckabee was pointing out that Obama's "healthcare" plan - which Kennedy supported - would have denied him the care that he received in his last days. Then he goes on to say that ACCESS to healthcare is what needs to be reformed - and Ezra Klein gets socialized medicine out of that? If HuffPo didn't see it, it wasn't there.

Posted by: QuoVadisAnima | September 1, 2009 8:01 PM | Report abuse

Next time, Mr. Klein, try to get it right.

Huckabee was saying that Americans should have "access" to the same health care as Sen. Kennedy. He does not say that others should "receive" the same health care as the rich, just have the same "access."

He also did not say that all Americans should spend the money for that kind of care, but that they should have the "choice" to spend the money if they desire.

He is "simply" saying that if the Govt gets a hold of our health care, we will no longer have the access or choice that we have now!

Posted by: 58steadfast | September 1, 2009 9:11 PM | Report abuse

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