Many Media Monitors recommended this clip from this Morning's edition of Morning Joe. Eric Cantor, asked by Carlos Watson if it might be a good idea for the GOP to partner with the White House on a "big initiative," like health care. Cantor allowed that while it's important for everyone to recognize that any individual without access to health care is facing "a crisis," he "drew the line" at any sort of government "takeover" of the health care system. So, what did he favor? Mike Barnicle attempted to suss this out with a very well formulated question.
MIKE BARNICLE: You just raised the issue of health care. We live in the only civilized nation in the world, where if ... your child gets sick with a really terrible illness, you might find yourself in bankruptcy court in order to pay the bills. So, without the pretty language, without the big words, can you tell me: what's your health plan, what's it going to cost, how are you going to get it done, how can you work with the Democrats in concocting ... in coming up with a health plan that works for everyone?
CANTOR: First of all, let me just go in here and address the assumption here in the discussion. We also have a health care system that, in reality, if you are sick anywhere in this world and you can afford it, you can come here for your care because we do have access to the best care, but you're right, there are too many people who don't have access to that care, so what we need to do is to be able to address -- number one -- the coverage and access to insurance, and number two, to be able to demonstrate that we can bring down cost. Now this notion that we are somehow going to allow the government to take over providing the care because that's going to address the cost factor, is just a false start. You can't assume that this place in Washington is going to do things efficiently. What we do know is that we need to promote the ability for people to -- number one -- if they lose their job, they don't necessarily lose their health care -- number two -- if they are sick and they have a pre-existing condition, we must allow for them to access affordable coverage, because that's a huge issue right now, how people can access coverage when they are sick, and that has to do with expanding the risk pools, giving people the ability to access much more affordable coverage. Right now, we are so tied to a third-party payer system that, you know, people are at a whim cut off from access to care. so we've got to go back to centering our focus on patient/doctor relationships.
It may seem a little strange that Cantor begins this harangue by advertising America as a place where the world's wealthy come to get their health care, but it's telling. Cantor believes in giving people "the ability to access much more affordable coverage," which is a different idea altogether from making that world-class health care he brags about at the outset affordable. Also, if you lose your job, Cantor believes you might not NECESSARILY deserve to lose your health care! His princely generosity is boundless!
Anyway, beyond these admissions, Cantor really doesn't have the plain-language proposal Barnicle wants to hear, and he doesn't even come close to addressing the issue he raises -- why a parent with a sick child should have to go into debt or end up in bankruptcy to care for him or her. Cantor merely believes that SOMEONE should address "access to insurance" and it would be okay if SOMEONE brought down cost, but the idea that this "someone" should be the government is a "false start" because "you can't assume that this place in Washington is going to do things efficiently." The good news? I think Cantor does a fine job exemplifying that last point.