Newt Gingrich on Health Insurance

I’m not for or against Newt. I love his name, it reminds me of a warty wizard in Dungeons & Dragons or something. I think on one hand, the 90’s were a great time for politics–balancing the budget, some across-the-aisle work getting done as well–but on the other hand, I do recall ol’ Newt leading the charge against Clinton in the impeachment debacle. Of course, at the same time Mr. Gingrich was declaring that President Clinton should be impeached on moral grounds and all, he was a-cheatin’ himself, and admits it.

Either way, I read this blurb from Newt on Politifact today (emphasis mine):

A large number of the uninsured earn $75,000 or more a year (and) don’t buy any health insurance because they want to buy a second house or a better car or go on vacation, then you and I and everybody else ends up picking up for them,” Gingrich said. “I don’t think having a free rider system in health is any more appropriate than having a free rider system in any other part of our society.

I don’t think we should have a “free rider” system either, let me assure you. However, I can list a bunch of similar systems that we have in America and you don’t hear Congress, Republicans or most other Americans complaining about them either:

  1. Federal Highway System. Plenty of people drive cars on roads, and those roads are paid for by American tax dollars (both income tax and a tax on gasoline by the gallon.) However, there are people who use the roads who do not pay these taxes, specifically bike riding hippies who make less than the taxable amount every year. Weak argument? Ok…
  2. The School System. Pretty much everyone who owns a home pays school tax on their property. Plenty of kids go to school who live with families who do not own their home, so while they may indirectly be paying school taxes by paying their landlords rent, who in turn pay the school tax, they are not actually paying the tax. So every kid in school who’s parents don’t own a house is getting a free ride.
  3. Any Industry that Gets Subsidies. Tobacco and other farmers, billion dollar banks and car companies alike share this honor: receiving money from the government because, without that money, that industry would fail. Pretty freakin’ unAmerican (where American = Capitalism) for sure, but it’s bonified truth. So while other US companies (read: Small Businesses) have to be competitive with not only their American counterparts but in some cases (such as Web Design, ahem), on a global scale, these other companies are allowed to throw the free markets to the wind and make mistake after mistake, as the gov’t will bail them and in turn they’ll make profit after profit regardless of decisions.

So, Mr. G, I simply feel it necessary to paint a larger picture, one in which for some ridiculous reason Republicans in Power (RIP? Did I coin that?) consider providing health care to every American who needs it to be socialist government take over while they’re happy to drive around on highways, smoke cigarettes and bail out banks no matter what the cost.

I’m sure I’ve heard somewhere that every American is entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Health care = life so very often, and we’re bickering over how much it’s worth. Isn’t life priceless? Isn’t that why women who get raped and want to have an abortion are going to hell?

PS. On a final note, Fox News reports that Universal Health Care would cost $1.5 trillion over 10 years (so you know the estimate is likely ridiculously high, but I’ll use it as the basis for any Republicans who stand by their Fox and have made it this far). Break that up, and you’ve got $1.5 billion / year. According to Wikipedia citing the Office of Management & the Budget, we brought in $1 trillion in tax revenue in 2009. According to the White House, around 24% of that already goes to Health Care. The math:

$1 trillion x 25% = $250 billion / year spent on taxes.

$250 billion > $1.5 billion (the Fox News estimate on how much we’d spend on Universal Health Care.)

Hmm, who the hell is doing accounting for our nation?

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