No, I did not watch the debate. I hadn’t planned to anyway, but didn’t for a couple of reasons. First is that I knew nothing worthwhile would come out of it. The other is that I couldn’t find it in my television listings and didn’t want to be bothered trying to find it (which would likely have required me to go through each cable channel, something that would have irritated me no end and wasted too much time).
But I did hear some recaps, containing what were apparently thought to be some of the best comments and retorts of the people on stage. What I heard angered me, though I wasn’t surprised by anything. It was a true demonstration of how out of touch with reality some of the folks were. I’ll limit my comments to two of the choicer statements.
Ben Carson weighed in on the controversy that has encircled him of late. “I don’t have a problem with being vetted. I do have a problem with being lied about.” That’s a curious position to take. It makes me wonder what he thinks he’s being lied about.
Does he think he’s being lied about with regard to Mannatech? I’ve covered that before. It wasn’t a lie and it wasn’t propaganda to note that he not only had ties to them, he was on their payroll and also endorsed their products. You can look it up on Youtube where the rambling video still can be viewed.
Does he think he’s being lied about with regard to his position on the Egyptian pyramids? He made the statements that he thinks they were granaries and not pharaoh tombs, and affirmed those comments.
How about his claim to have been offered a scholarship to West Point? He’s made those claims for years, you can find them in his book, and points to that time and again as part of his personal narrative. Are they lies to have it pointed out that he has, at best, dissembled in that no admission offer was ever made because he never applied and that’s the only way one gets a service academy appointment?
Perhaps he’s talking about all the other stupid, asinine things he’s said in the last couple of months (again, which I’ve covered elsewhere). Are they lies when it’s pointed out that each and every position and thing he’s stated has been proven wrong?
What, precisely, are the lies Dr. Carson?
The other comment came from the mouth of one of my other favorites, Carly Fiorina. Carly the Carpetbagger is back with a vengeance and is trying to make herself relevant again. Why anyone would consider voting for her I’ve no idea, but she’s stuck around and is still making noises. Her latest foolishness was the comment about health insurance. She wants it to be completely privatized, put into the hands of the insurance company, on the free market. No, really, that’s what she said. The very reason we have the Affordable Care Act (ACA, also known as “Obamacare”) is because the free market failed with regard to health insurance. The system was broken and the ACA did its level best to fix that brokenness. Putting people back into the private market will hurt far too many people financially and is wholly unworkable.
Why? Because of something called the “preexisting condition.” Insurance works by pooling people with different risk levels together to keep costs reasonable for the majority. By combining everyone into a “pool,” the insurance company spreads its risk out over the entire population within the pool. Healthy people make up for the sick. Outliers, those at the positive end in healthcare (people without any health conditions, young, in shape, etc.) pay less and those at the negative end (multiple serious health conditions, older, overweight, etc.) pay more. Those in the middle pay what might be a “reasonable” amount for the insurance. To determine where one falls on the scale, insurance companies have the “preexisting condition,” which is an ailment that a person has prior to obtaining the insurance. If you were once covered and switch jobs (assuming your employer pays for insurance) you will not be covered for a period of time determined at the discretion of the insurance company. At the end of that period, you will pay more for the insurance due to that condition – you are never deemed ‘cured,’ no matter how long you have not had any manifestations of the illness in question. If you never had insurance, you will also wait a predetermined period of time and also be charged more for the insurance.
That assumes, of course, that an insurance company will take the risk of insuring you. Understand that insurance companies are in the business of making sure they pay as little as possible, which is why they have the tables determining people’s risks to begin with. Healthy young people will pay less in premiums than older healthy people because younger people will be less likely to tap the insurance resources available to them. If you are a risk to the insurance company, for example, you have a heart condition, had cancer (even if in remission for several years), have asthma (even if no asthmatic attack for years), etc., you will either be denied outright (as in the case of heart disease and/or cancer) or pay significantly more for coverage (as with asthma).
It is argued that you can decrease the premiums by having a higher deductible. That’s true. However, in the case of a catastrophic illness, the person’s deductible can literally bankrupt the person. For affordable monthly premiums, you have to pay or meet higher deductibles, and those deductibles can be significant, on the order $10,000 or more (depending on plan, insurance company, depth of coverage, etc.).
That’s the brokenness that the ACA was designed to fix: that people will either not get coverage because of serious health conditions or will pay significantly more for health insurance. That’s perfectly normal in a free market system; businesses seek to decrease risk in order to maximize profits. But it’s why the free market works poorly for health insurance in a society without a national healthcare system: people who are sick need more coverage. But people who are sick cannot get the coverage they need because they are sick. Putting healthcare back into the free market simply won’t work and it will hurt far too many people. We are judged by how we treat the least among us. By not providing health care for the poorest among us, we are diminishing ourselves as a society and deserve to be harshly judged.
Perhaps Fiorina’s failure to fully understand the full ramifications of the free market system explains her similar colossal failure as CEO.
Don’t even get me started on Ted Cruz. Or Donald Trump’s comments on wages (“wages are too high”) and what people have to do to get ahead in the country (“work really hard to make it in the upper stratum”).
If this is the best that Republicans can offer, then perhaps Democrats will win in 2016 after all.
Seriously, if you’re a Republican examine closely what the candidates are saying. Because they simply fail to grasp the obvious and fail to grasp the truth. At this point, the only Republican candidates that make any sort of sense overall are John Kasich, Chris Christie, Lindsey Graham, and Marco Rubio (and I’m not too sure about him). They are conservative but are generally realistic in outlook, tone, and temperament (okay, not so much with regard to Christie, given his temper). But they are perhaps the sanest candidates out there. Unlike Carson, Fiorina, and Cruz.