Health Care and the race for Governor (Part 1)

Those of us who are old enough remember the attempt by the Clinton Administration to win support for what was called “HillaryCare” back in the early 1990s. It failed, and many people cited that policy battle as one of the key reasons why Republicans won the Congress in 1994.

The rest, as they say, is a sad history. Despite holding U.S. House for twelve straight years and the White House for eight with George W. Bush, Republicans failed to advance their brand of consumer-driven health care. I should say – they failed to even try. That’s the worst part of it.

When Rod Blagojevich faced off against Jim Ryan in the 2002 race for Illinois Governor I did quite a bit of research into the health care issue for a column I was writing. What I learned was rather simple, I thought, and definitely something that even politicians could grasp and convey to constituents.

Much of what I penned I was able to re-use four years later when Blago took on Topinka. There was only a need to update the names and dates. Now four years later the health care world is changed by the passage of ObamaCare – but the crux of the issue remains unchanged.

Democrat Pat Quinn calls health care a “fundamental right.” Conservatives disagree – and two essays touching on the “right” debate were linked here:

The Folly of a “Right to Health Care”

Health Care is not a right

While Quinn’s website doesn’t mention the new federal law, this summary paragraph tells you all you need to know:

“As Governor, Pat Quinn has been a vocal advocate for health care reform and a strong supporter of a public option. Throughout his more than 30 years in public service, he’s worked to bring adequate health care to everyone in Illinois. Governor Quinn has sought to aid groups not receiving adequate health care, and protected the benefits of groups that already do.”

Four years ago I complained that practically nothing had been done by our GOP leaders to help Illinoisans understand the pitfalls with government-run health care. Actually, it’s now been eight – and about sixteen if you dial back to Hillarycare that not nearly enough has been done by Republicans.

Here is what Republican candidate Bill Brady has on his website:

Health Care

Bill believes we need to expand health care. That means giving people options and opportunity.

As Governor, Bill will improve the management of Medicaid so Illinois residents have access at the earliest stages of their illness allowing patients to see their doctors instead of high-cost emergency room visits. By guaranteeing earlier access to Medicaid recipients through a better managed system, Illinois would save approximately $1.2 billion to $1.8 billion and improve access to health care for Medicaid patients.

Bill will also maximize implementation of medical savings accounts as a means to allow people to be more involved in their health care decisions.

Well, that’s not all of what he had to say. I left out the sentence where he spelled Blagojevich’s name wrong.

Up next: Part 2.