Most here haven’t commented on the darting and illusory fortunes of the huge Republican field; I’d mentioned earlier that Perry would have trouble – double or triple BDS syndrome, a bit too much of an Aggie for Texas, God knows for the rest of the country. But that great t-sipper, Kevin Williamson, discusses the case for Perry after a strong speech. That’s worth reading and both Williamson & Perry are worth while.
Perry’s fighting, turning arguments around to free market principles, to the human: he did this earlier on the relatively friendly Fox’s Chris Wallace. Wallace pressed him on the number of uninsured Texans. Perry didn’t fight him on those grounds but on the far more important, far more serious, and far more consequential grounds of “access.” Access in Texas to health care has risen sharply with Perry’s policies. And, let’s face it, if there is enough access, all the assurances of insurance are pretty useless. Or, as Venzueleans found out, Chavez had promised to meet their every need – government promises of toilet paper and oil were there, access was not.
Almost any one who writes here – though especially Dr. Kennedy – knows more than I. So, I’m wondering. Does the entrance of CVS & Walmart & Walgreen as well as the increased number of local clinics indicate the free market is asserting itself? I’ve wondered if Obamacare’s high deductibles aren’t going to encourage a competitive medical market for the broken bones and blood work and pap smears of everyday life. (And knock down the prices, let doctors use their time more effectively – practice medicine rather than ride herd on a large administrative staff, and keep a larger percentage of what are likely to be reduced fees.) My kids can’t believe that insurance didn’t pay for our first child’s birth – we’d planned, saved, and, well, frankly it wasn’t all that expensive.
“Access” in Texas didn’t “just happen.” Not too long ago, doctors were in short supply in large parts of the state. But limiting punitive damages in liability cases, no state income tax, and our sunny environment flooded the state. A major factor had been juries who over-rewarded. But, that’s human nature when the payer seems a distant, impersonal insurance company and the payee a sad, suffering, specific & present case. Few have a vision strong enough to counter their instincts nor consider the consequences of sentimentality. But restraints have proven beneficial for the general good.
We watch Stossel every week to cheer us up in a gloomy time, his free market solution probably doesn’t answer as much as he thinks it does, but focusing on access remains a bed rock sensible consideration.
And Perry’s is one of the more thoughtful and philosophical of the attempts by candidates to use an accurate and attractive vocabulary for basic values that are broadly shared. But if he’s the best, he’s not the only. If I’m going to be represented by a woman, I’d rather it was of Fiorina’s stripe, who stands on her own feet & fights; if someone is going to defend the Republican stand on abortion, I’d rather it was Rand Paul. (I suspect more Republicans than not might want abortion legal – that may be up in the air. I don’t think it is up in the air that few if any Republicans would take the 9 month, partial birth choice of some Democrats. Indeed, few Democrats in an honest debate would.)
If Republicans accept the “available insurance” rather than access, the money for schools instead of the choices of schools, the length of unemployment insurance rather than the percentage working, they are going to lose. But these are not what people really want – they want freedom, they want access, they want choice, they want jobs.