Two Republicans Who Support Health Care Reform

Most Republicans, especially those in Congress, have taken a knee-jerk position to vote against any form of health care reform. Instead they are trying to hinder implementation, and their refusal to consider legislation prevents passing some needed fixes which normally would have been passed for such a major piece of legislation. There are rare exceptions of Republicans who have embraced health care reform. One is in Nevada:

People living in states where the state government has acted to support the Affordable Care Act are generally having better experiences. While this is generally in the blue states, Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval:

In a Republican party that’s gone all out against Obamacare, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval went all in.

Sandoval is the only Republican governor whose state is both running its own health insurance exchange this year and expanding its Medicaid program under the health law. He’s arguably doing more to put the Democrats’ signature law into place than any other Republican.

But in fully implementing Obamacare, Sandoval faces a double-edged sword: He’s helping bring health care coverage to a state with the second highest uninsured rate in the country, while he may be hurting his national ambitions because he’s not actively blocking the president’s law.

Political realities in the GOP force him to both criticize Obamacare while doing what is best for his state. As he is not running for office, Colin Powell can be more open, and call for going ever further than the Affordable Care Act. His view is also affected by personal experience:

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell said universal health care should be available to all Americans. He was speaking at a charity event for prostate survivors in Seattle.

Powell told the audience that countries in Europe, Canada and South Korea offer universal, single-payer health care and said he often asks why the United States has not implemented the same system.

“Whether it’s Obamacare, or son of Obamacare, I don’t care,” Powell said. “As long as we get it done.”

Powell, a retired four-star general, was diagnosed with prostate cancer and credits his survival to the universal health care provided by the United States military.

Sharing health stories with the audience about his wife, Alma, and a neighbor, Powell said he and his wife have never worried about whether their health care would bankrupt them. He contrasted his experience with his neighbor, Anne, who cannot afford the MRIs to identify tumors in her brain before doctors will operate on her. Powell said she has health insurance, but it does not cover MRI imaging. He said she was out of work and he gave her the funds three weeks ago to receive treatment.

“We are a wealthy enough country,” Powell said, “with the capacity to make sure that every one of our fellow citizens has access to quality health care.”

In other health care news this weekend, check out this report from The Washington Post which gives one example as to why health care costs so much in the United States.

The two drugs have been declared equivalently miraculous. Tested side by side in six major trials, both prevent blindness in a common old-age affliction. Biologically, they are cousins. They’re even made by the same company.

But one holds a clear price advantage.

Avastin costs about $50 per injection.

Lucentis costs about $2,000 per injection.

Doctors choose the more expensive drug more than half a million times every year, a choice that costs the Medicare program, the largest single customer, an extra $1 billion or more annually…

The Medicare Part D plan enacted by George Bush prohibits the government from negotiating for better prices on drugs for the Medicare program. In reading about situations such as this, there is a huge difference between government making rational decisions as to what to cover and what many conservatives would call death panels. (Incidentally, I am not an ophthalmologist and while quoting this news report I am not making a professional judgment that the two are equivalent. Secondly, I take no kickbacks from pharmaceutical companies which might influence which drugs I prescribe, and this should be the case with all physicians.)

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4 Comments

  1. 1
    Philo Vaihinger says:

    Why is Powell a Republican, anyway? And the holes in Medicare are a national scandal.

  2. 2
    Ron Chusid says:

    Powell has called himself a Republican, but he clearly is not like the typical Republican.

    What do you mean by holes in Medicare? Medicare has its faults, but for the most past it does an excellent job of providing care for seniors and the disabled.

  3. 3
    Philo Vaihinger says:

    No, it doesn’t. High premiums, huge copays and coinsurances, donut holes, and only a relatively small number of available hospital days.
    Look it up.

  4. 4
    Ron Chusid says:

    What do you mean, look it up? I deal with Medicare every day. None of what you said is correct.

    For the coverage it offers, premiums are not high at all. Copays are extremely low compared to most private plans. The donut hole was a problem from Bush, which Obama is phasing out. Also untrue about hospital days.  I take care of lots of quite sick people, some of whom spend a lot of time in the hospital.

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