Sunday, January 06, 2008

First Impression Of the Republican Debate

I watched the debates last night with interest.

For me, probably the biggest disappointment was Mitt Romney. I've always regarded him as a very competent, fairly moderate CEO-type. The duplicity in his responses came as a huge surprise to me.

Romney came to the defense of the pharmaceutical industry, saying:

And don't turn the pharmaceutical companies into the big, bad guys...they're trying to create products to make us well and make us better. And they're doing the work of the free market. And are there excesses? I'm sure there are, and we should go after excesses, but they're an important industry to this country.

But let me note something else. And that is the market will work. And the reason healthcare isn't working like a market right now is you have 47 million people that are saying, "I'm not gonna play. I'm just gonna get free care paid for by everybody else." That doesn't work.

#2, the buyer doesn't have information about what the cost or quality is of different choices they can have.

If you take the government out of it to a much greater extent, you get it work like a market, and we'll rein in costs.

IMHO, to even suggest that the 47 million people without health care are making a deliberate choice not to pay is outrageous. I know. During the years I was writing full-time, I watched my health care insurance go from about $200 a month during the period I was covered by COBRA to well over $500 a month.

People don't carry health care because they simply can't afford it.

Pharmaceutical companies are making obscene profits while the public is having to decide between buying needed medications each month or buying food. Medications are being sold in other countries at a fraction of what they cost here, and Congress continues to protect those higher prices. That's NOT the free market at work. Romney's comments suggest he is pandering to the pharmaceutical industry.

On the Republican side, I thought McCain beat out Romney handily.

While I truly admire McCain as a loyal patriot and a great American, I suspect he is a dyed-in-the-wool conservative presenting as a moderate.


Stephen Parrish said...

My biggest concern with Mitt Romney is that he changes his mind about critical issues when doing so is politically convenient. For example, he was once pro-choice. Now that he's seeking the Republican nomination, he's pro-life and wants to overturn Roe v. Wade. As governor of Massachusetts he ordered town clerks to issue marriage licenses to gay couples. As candidate for the Republican nomination he favors a constitutional amendment outlawing gay marriage.

Maya Reynolds said...

Stephen: Going into the Republican debate, I was inclined favorably toward Romney, Giuliani and McCain.

I came away thinking McCain's performance outstripped the others.

I'm less clear on the Democratic side.