The recent consensus and public polls during the fourth Republican debates in Iowa on August 5 says that former Arkansas Governor, Mike Huckabee, was the clear winner and now ties for third within all the Republican candidates. A strong part of that was obviously the result of his surprising stance on health care and taking a higher ground of wanting to provide a universal system to every American if elected as President. But the difference on his health care plan comes in the primary focus on prevention, which seldom gets mentioned in any mention of health care management. Government bureaucracy in health care has probably gone past the point of no return in completely reforming the system…unless our future President wants to write another overhaul plan bigger than the phonebook-sized one Hillary Clinton attempted in 1993. The only truly workable plan in giving America a better health care system may truly lie in focusing primarily on prevention programs. Or, at least it would be a good start.
Huckabee’s statement in the Iowa debate of “giving Americans the same health care equivalent of Congress or have Congress have to live with the health care of Americans” was truly an inspired political statement that will probably continue to help Huckabee in the polls. His focus on prevention in the age of obesity is also refreshing when the U.S. is suffering an obesity crisis that’ll ultimately keep raising our premiums on the ones who actually have health insurance and make health insurance only accessible to the extremely wealthy within another ten years. As important as the war on terror is, obesity may be in the Top Five now of American issues that should be addressed sooner rather than later.
It may help to have a Presidential candidate who understands what obesity does to your health and how it can be prevented with a willful frame of mind. Perhaps people will have to be reminded that Huckabee was once obese and diagnosed with adult-onset Diabetes when first elected governor of Arkansas. Out of sheer determination, he lost weight dramatically and now maintains a normal weight. How he shed his pounds so fast in 2003 created a lot of controversy, however. Nevertheless, the fact that he did do it successfully is something never seen before in a Presidential candidate. On the campaign trail–nobody will have to worry about the press photographing him pigging out on McDonald’s food either as Bill Clinton was frequently seen doing in his 1992 campaign in order to keep going.
In the remotest chance Huckabee gets the Republican nomination and wins the Presidency, let’s hope his health care prevention programs extend to the public school system so kids will learn about what to do early. Many grade schools don’t teach effective prevention methods in diet any more when obesity has recently been starting in kids barely into first grade. Many health clinics have dieticians on their staffs, too, that seldom get covered by insurance. Huckabee promises to get a consumer-based health care system in place that will hopefully cover prevention programs through a person’s local health clinic. It’s baffling sometimes, though, to realize that so many people still don’t know how to eat right or maintain a moderated diet. Getting the American public on that road would be a preventative measure on its own in stopping other future troubles for the country.
Maybe we wouldn’t entirely heart Huckabee: Why his other plans for health care could be overly lofty goals…
Huckabee’s official website promises that he’d work with Congress and health care providers to overhaul the system as an adjunct to his well-intentioned prevention ideas. One controversial point in his plan would be ending employer-based health care and placing all supposed control of health care with the consumer instead. He also wants to encourage private sectors to bring the costs of health care down. Before those costs may (or may not) go down–people may miss getting an insurance plan through their employer…especially when a lot of private insurance for lower to middle-income families have exemptions that some employer insurances help fill in. Trying to force other people to change the health care system may be a well-intentioned (and probably inspired) idea…but it could prove to be a failure or, at best, extremely slow moving in our usual bureaucratic system.
One of his plans for getting costs down is making health insurance tax-deductible for families rather than businesses. The same goes for poor families who would get tax credits. This goes along with Huckabee’s plan to reform the tax system that also gets into overly high goals, complicated territory and bitter divides.
Huckabee wants to be a President who updates everything that’s still stuck in a time warp (i.e. the tax code, our air-traffic control system, etc.). His stance that business-oriented insurance plans were really made for only the WWII generation is an argument that still needs to be debated when dealing with the complexities of changing a complicated system in a four-year (or even eight-year) Presidential term.
Would the public prefer to heart Hillary on health care reform?
After Hillary Clinton tried to create universal health care as First Lady in 1993 (that ended up creating a book thicker than any known phonebook or dictionary in the world)–most people have been speculating ever since whether she’d ever try it again in the event she’d be President. Would she attempt it again in the chance (and it’s a better chance than anybody at this point) she gets the nomination and elected? Based on her team-ups in recent years and reportedly better understanding of the inner workings of the health care industry…she just may. But it might end up siding with insurance companies considerably.
The irony can’t help but be noted that when Hillary attempted to reform health care, many op-ed pieces written at the time questioned whether there really was a health care crisis in America. Either that showed a sense of denial (well, some admitted it was an insurance crisis rather than anything else) or just an intentional backlash against the Clintons. Fourteen years later, more is being written about how much of a mess our health care system is in. But America also seems to understand more now that getting government too much involved in reformation just isn’t the ultimate answer. Even Hillary has admitted to that and also realized that you need to take smaller steps to health care reform and not make broad sweeping reforms all in one term.
Hillary also learned the value of taking a moderate approach with the other side. When she hooked up with Newt Gingrich in 2005 to help put together a health care bill that would update antiquated medical record-keeping (something Huckabee wants to expand on)–some thought that she shifted dramatically from what she truly believed in. In fact, she and Gingrich agreed on so much discussing health care, that it seems she went a little farther to the right of the middle road approach in how health care should be managed.
Other evidence of this was when it was reported major insurance companies and pharmaceuticals gave money to Hillary’s re-election campaign as U.S. Senator in 2006. The basic consensus says that these companies gave to her campaign because she understands how they operate now and how they’re part of the complex process for better or for worse. Maybe this was a “if you can’t beat ’em…join ’em” type of political process–but some of her detractors contend that she did this to get larger amounts of money when campaigning for President thanks to appeasing to big business as she’s touted as supporting in major magazines now.
Now you have to wonder if Hillary might attempt to backfire on some of the pharmaceutical and insurance companies if she revamped health care as President. It’s hard to say if she would, though siding with the big guns that most liberals despise in the health care system would paint her as completely different politically from where she was when her husband was President. As Huckabee and Hillary apparently realize, you have to work with the unfortunate health care mechanics this country has and set in place a long time ago. And that means compromises that can only be taken in baby steps.