Tag Archives: American Enterprise Institute

David Frum’s Comments on Health Care Worth Contemplating by Both Right and Left

David Frum last week resigned from the right wing American Enterprise Institute after they cancelled his pay and office. Frum is a former President George W Bush speechwriter and decided to speak his own thoughts rather than follow the current Republican campaign strategy of saying no to anything and everything the Democrats and President Obama proposes. Frum’s comments relate to the just passed health care reform legislation.

The Republicans hope that Congress’s not acting on many critical issues helps Republicans get elected.  The only thing they don’t consider in this negative strategy is that the public may wake up and realize that it’s the Republicans that are causing this inaction, not the Democrats.

David Frum, in his column entitled Waterloo on Frum Forum irritated the right wing by his comments that the Republican strategy on health care was and is wrong. It’s not that he’s supporting the Legislation that passed but he believes the Republicans are making a big mistake.

This bill will not be repealed. Even if Republicans scored a 1994 style landslide in November, how many votes could we muster to re-open the “doughnut hole” and charge seniors more for prescription drugs? How many votes to re-allow insurers to rescind policies when they discover a pre-existing condition? How many votes to banish 25 year olds from their parents’ insurance coverage? And even if the votes were there – would President Obama sign such a repeal?

We followed the most radical voices in the party and the movement, and they led us to abject and irreversible defeat.

His comments were not a one time fluke. He repeated his comments on CNN the next day in an atricle entitled How GOP can rebound from its “Waterloo”

“Some Republicans talk of repealing the whole bill. That’s not very realistic. Even supposing that Republicans miraculously capture both houses of Congress in November, repeal will require a presidential signature.

More relevantly: Do Republicans write a one-sentence bill declaring that the whole thing is repealed? Will they vote to reopen the “doughnut” hole for prescription drugs for seniors? To allow health insurers to deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions? To kick millions of people off Medicaid?

It’s unimaginable, impossible.”

Such blunt talk didn’t sit well with his right wing free enterprise think tank employer. Hence his resignation.

While Frum discusses the GOP’s mistakes and problems he also see the issue from a larger perspective which it is important to keep in mind. Consider these comments he made later to the The Globe and Mail in an article entitled David Frum makes no apologies to Republicans

“The health-care status quo is for sure not sustainable. The United States is now spending 17 per cent of its GDP [on health care] and Canada spends about 10. The average in most developed countries is about 10 1/2 and the runner-up in Switzerland spends about 11. If the United States spent as much on health care as Switzerland does per person, relative to the economy, you would liberate six points of GDP. You would get your entire defence budget for free and have two points of GDP left over to pay down your debt.”

Such straight talk is uncommon these days from Republicans.  While I don’t agree with his proposed “solutions” to changing the health care reform legislation just passed, it is refreshing to see a Republican discuss some hard realities of the problems that our current health care system has produced.