While speaking in Rochester, NH today, Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani outlined what he described as a consumer oriented solution to the nation’s health care problem. Giuliani stated his philosophy towards health care. “Government cannot take care of you. You’ve got to take care of yourself,” he said. “As more of us do that, the cheaper it will become and the higher in quality it becomes.”

The centerpiece of the Giuliani plan is a $15,000 tax deduction for people who buy private health insurance, or switch from their employer’s coverage. The idea at work here is that if more people purchase private health insurance, premiums will go down. The problem with Giuliani’s plan is that 60% of those without insurance make less than $30,000 a year. These people would have to spend almost half of their yearly income before they qualified for the tax deduction.

“America is at a crossroads when it comes to our health care. All Americans want to increase the quality, affordability and portability of health care. Most Republicans believe in free-market solutions to the challenges we face. I believe we can reduce costs and improve the quality of care by increasing competition. We can do it through tax cuts, not tax hikes. We can do it by empowering patients and their doctors, not government bureaucrats. That’s the American way to reform health care,” the former New York City mayor said. His plan would help low income people get coverage by relying on a combination of a tax credit, Medicaid, and employer contributions. Giuliani would also cap the awards on malpractice lawsuits by limiting to actual economic damage suffered.

He would also allow people to buy insurance from out of state companies, cut down regulations so that the FDA can approve drugs faster, expand health savings accounts, invest in on line patient information sharing so that medical deaths caused by preventable error can be decreased, reward states for innovative programs, and launch new initiatives to promote wellness and a healthy lifestyle. If this plan sounds vague, that’s because it is. An ongoing pattern in both the Giuliani and Clinton campaigns has been the lack of specifics and details in their plans.

I wish the Giuliani campaign would have released a true health care plan, so that we could engage in an informed debate about this important issue. However with the threat of Fred Thompson breathing down their necks, it seems the Giuliani campaign decided to use a laundry list of conservative ideas as a way for their candidate to prove his conservatism. This thing isn’t a plan at all. It is a series of applause lines for Republican audiences. Plans have goals and objectives. Plans have a vision. Rudy Giuliani has offered none of these things on any issue, and I think that is why his poll numbers have continued to slide for months now.

What good is health insurance plan that those without insurance can’t afford to benefit from? I am beginning to wonder what the point is of both this plan, and the Rudy Giuliani campaign. Everything Giuliani has proposed on the major issues is something we have already seen before. His health care plan is the same thing that George W. Bush has been proposing for years. His plan for Iraq is to stay the course, and he wants to make the Bush tax cuts permanent. In short, Rudy Giuliani is the anti-gun, pro-choice, President Bush. There is nothing new or different about Giuliani. When I got past all the 9/11 talk and flag waving, I realized that he is President Bush in a Yankees cap.

The Giuliani plan

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Jason Easley is the editor of the politics zone at 411mania.com.  His news column The Political Universe appears on Tuesdays and Fridays at www.411mania.com/politics

Jason can also be heard every Sunday at 7:00 pm (ET) as the host of The Political Universe Radio Show at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/thepoliticaluniverse


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