Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Is Todd Akin is moving to the center?

I was so shocked that it took me two days to react to the news that my Congressman, Todd Akin, plans to introduce legislation mandating that Americans carry health insurance. This is surprising for two reasons:

1. Akin is known primarily for his outspokenness on social issues like abortion and the Pledge of Allegiance, and for his promotion of a muscular foreign policy, which is personally important to him because three of his sons have served in the military. It's unusual to see him shift his focus to a non-"base" issue such as health care.

2. To the extent that Akin has weighed in on economic matters, he has been a very consistent conservative: he was one of a small number of Republicans who voted no on the 2003 Medicare prescription drug expansion and he was the only Missouri legislator to vote against last year's farm bill. His legislation is explicitly patterned after Mitt Romney's Massachusetts plan, which Romney's Republican rivals attacked and many conservatives criticized for its individual mandate more than most other provisions.

Don't get me wrong: nobody's going to mistake Todd Akin for a liberal or even a moderate any time soon. But I believe his plan is yet another data point showing our country's leftward shift on health care over the past few years. Conservatives seem to be conceding to the idea of universal health care coverage and some have even agreed to the idea that health care is a fundamental right. We are moving closer and closer to the liberal dream of socialized medicine, and the prospects of stopping it grow dimmer every day.


david.stokes said...

Hopefully, health savings accounts are fully included in the options. As long as they are, this isn't so bad, although I am still not sold on it.

Brian said...

This had me scratching my head too Shamed. I'm really not sure what the intention behind this is.

My guess is that many conservatives have given in to the notion that we will have greater government control of health care. So, why not put in the least worst option to delay the implementation of full control via single-payer?

Shamed Dogan said...

Brian, my main worry is that if conservatives concede the goal of "universal" health care, what grounds will we have for opposing single-payer? I think the best outcome we can hope for is drastically increased spending on existing programs with a dash of reform, like increasing HSAs.

If Dems pass horrible legislation over our objections (which is likely) then so be it. But if single-payer is passed with a bipartisan vote, Republicans will be responsible for the inevitable disaster.

Anonymous said...

I support Akin's legislation that is similar to Mitt Romney's I presume. Why shouldn't people be forced to buy health insurance for themselves if they can afford it.
Maybe they will have less money then to buy illegal drugs, cigarettes, alcohol, and donuts. Maybe they will take better care of themselves if they have to pay for it. I support this whole-heartedly. People have to buy car insurance. It is time people are responsible for themselves rather then letting someone else always pick up the tab. I think this is a very

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