Watching Sarah Palin last night, I couldn't help but wonder how her family would have been be able to afford health care had she not been governor. A child with Down Syndrome and an unemployed and pregnant 17-year old daughter, would break any middle class family.
For that, it was interesting to me that she has never broached the issue of health care. Instead, she has been using her family to prove points about abortion and conservatism, as seen by the religious right.
It became more apparent after yesterday's convention episode that McCain's choice for running mate was to appeal to the crowd that brought Bush into office. It did not matter what Palin's record was, whether or not she really fought the "big ol' boys" network, big oil companies, earmark spending, etc. All these claims are being disputed.
Picking the Alaskan governor, to quote Karl Rove, was a "campaign decision", not a "governing decision".
Proving this point is lack of any real information on Palin on the official McCain website. Apart from a photo, a title claiming "a fresh perspective", and a transcript of the press conference that announced her to the world (which she re-recited last night), there is little information about her or her "record".
McCain hopes the people will supply the narrative. Many will indeed, and she will surely be a polarizing but eloquent figure, proving to be a good Republican answer to Obama when it comes to presentation skills. But unfortunately for McCain, many will rely on the "elitist" and "evil" media as the Republicans like to call it, for more information about her. What I found so far isn't encouraging. Palin comes across as someone who uses her children to draw "conservative" voters, and who has extremely wild and worrying views on science and evolution. Her speech last night was mostly combative, though impressive in style. Ironically, it was her who accused her opponent of being all talk.
So what about health care?
Both Palin and Guiliani, the stars of last night's performance, failed to mention health care or McCain's health care plan. They spoke about terrorism, the need to attach "Islamic" to the term to make it sound more realistic, and McCain's courage eons ago as a soldier. McCain will fight for us, etc. But can he help pay my health care bill? I don't need a socialist solution. But what I don't appreciate is a plan that will make it worse for me.
Affording health care is one of my main concerns. My employer's justification for raising premiums every year, and making HMO plans extremely expensive for families, sounds a lot like McCain's plan to "Restore Control To The Patients Themselves." In fact, both my employer and John McCain use the same language. What this means, simply, is that patients will no longer have access to plans that pay 100% of the bill. Families have to pick plans that pay a certain percentage, and that force you to pay out of pocket until you meet a deductible. Kind of like car insurance plus you still have to fork out 20% or more of the total bill. So, if your wife has a baby, expect not being able to afford the hospital bill. If you get cancer, good luck.
Unlike Obama, who provided tons of details on this issue on his site and during his speech, McCain doesn't seem to think it's worthy of details. Obama might be taking it to the socialist extreme, but there's at least a solid plan to discuss.
I wonder if Palin's pregnant daughter will wed her presumably unemployed boyfriend AFTER giving birth. It makes sense. Let mommy take care of the bills while she's governor/running for VP. And how will the "families of special needs children" find a friend in Washington (as she proclaimed) if they elect Palin, given what McCain is proposing?
It gets worse with McCain's plan. His alternative to the "expensive" (wonder why!) employer-based insurance is to pay insurance companies directly through a "tax credit". So your employer is off the hook, your paycheck is the same, and your private health care provider gets richer. So no to big government, but yes to corporations feasting on my hard work and penalizing me for having children, healthy or with special needs?
I wonder if McCain, and Palin, know that doctors and hospitals in this country charge patients more than they end up getting paid by insurance companies? We, the middle class, get no "negotiated rates".
There are other issues, of course. Foreign policy might be one of them, and in the past, I have criticized Obama harshly for uneducated statements on Lebanon. Guiliani made a strong case, but he is not the VP, Palin is. And I don't buy what Cindy McCain said about Alaska's proximity to Russia making Palin experienced in national security. Like Guiliani said, we can't afford "on the job training". This applies to Palin too.
I don't know how many will be willing to forgive McCain for failing to present the people with a real governing team. We are simply being asked to place all our eggs in his good ol' basket, to wish him long life and good health (and health care), and accept Palin as a necessity to get him elected.