Joe Paduda wrote a very interesting article about how the main GOP presidential candidates are all opposed to universal health care, while the majority of American Republicans – like their Democratic counterparts – are in favor of universal health care. The article is an insightful look at the various conservative groups and how they view health care reform and government oversight in general.
CNN Money recently published a breakdown of the net worth of all the major candidates (Huckabee is missing from the lineup, although it appears that his net worth is more in line with Obama’s than the rest of the crowd – both Huckabee and Obama are reportedly worth less than $2 million, virtual paupers compared with the other candidates, but still far wealthier than the vast majority of Americans).
I wonder if personal wealth and social circles have anything to do with the candidates stance on health care reform? The Democratic candidates tend to support at least some version of universal health care hybridized with private health insurance. That’s a stance that fits with their party values and left-leaning base. But the Republican candidates are more likely to talk about the evils of “socialized medicine” (Reganomics, anyone?) and how it’s better to limit government intervention. So what about their personal stake in this? The ultra rich (Mitt Romney, your $202 million puts you in this category…) would bear a larger tax burden with universal health care, no matter how you crunch the numbers. And very wealthy people tend to hang out with other very wealthy people. So these candidates likely have lots of family, friends, acquaintances, associates, and wanna-be friends who would all be paying higher taxes in a system with universal health care. (not to mention all the ultra-rich health care industry CEOs who would prefer to keep their current lifestyles, and who make their views known to any candidate who will lend a sympathetic ear). The Democratic candidates are a pretty wealthy group as well, but universal health care fits better into their overall social model than it does with GOP values.
The Republican base that supports these candidates averages a much smaller net worth than the candidates themselves (this is obviously true of both parties). These are people who have values that are similar to the various GOP ideals, but who are in much different socio-economic situations. Republican voters aren’t all rich. Lots of them struggle to pay bills and put food on the table. The rising cost of health insurance and health care in general is being felt by most of the middle class in this country, and just about all of the nation’s poor, regardless of our various political values. The Colorado Health Insurance Insider would have to agree that Paduda’s conclusion that the GOP candidates are out of touch with the American people when it comes to health care reform is an accurate one.