Friday, October 16, 2009


Michael Steele (yes, I took that photo) was a bit of a disappointment. To be fair, he has a very friendly, easygoing style, and when I met him he seemed quite personable. His speech was filled with some rather unoriginal homilies about fighting for what you believe in and letting parents and business do what they want to without government interference, blah blah blah. That was actually okay, if not terribly inspiring.

But then he answered some questions at the end, and he seemed to go off the rails. A woman mentioned that she'd heard that 50-65 year olds have a hard time getting health insurance, and she wanted to know what was the Republican plan to deal with this problem.

Steele started by agreeing that this was a problem and saying that something like 8 to 10 million of these folks are actually eligible for Medicare or Medicaid but haven't filled out the necessary paperwork. He said we need to do more to put these people on the federal rolls, maybe making sure that doctors properly inform their patients about these options. He then went on a bit of a rant about how reforming health care was really complicated, so we needed to slow down and take our time about it so that everyone can understand what's going on.

So, to boil it down, we can help solve a big part of the uninsured problem by tracking down people and enrolling them in a large health plan run by the federal government. Glad a Republican suggested this. But how do we do it? Maybe we could force doctors to enroll their patients! Maybe we could hire ACORN to track down these folks! I don't know. And the bit about health reform coming at us too quickly seemed pretty disingenuous since we've been talking about this since Woodrow Wilson was in the White House.

Anyway, nice guy, but I wasn't hugely impressed.

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