Mike Huckabee's Health Care Reform

HuckabeeCare is so crazy it might just work, says one liberal. Another calls him too socialist.

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The Mike Huckabee resurgence is in full effect, and that means cheering conservatives and terrified liberals. Part of that resurgence includes Huckabee talking about health care, often on his perch at ABC News radio. In between some, er, controversial statements about Ted Kennedy, Huckabee pitched an idea for health care reform. Believe it or not, HuckabeeCare just might be one of the most liberal plans out there.

  • HuckabeeCare: Senator's Insurance for All  "I want to see improvements in health care, too," Huckabee said after criticising current health care reform plans. "But I think a better way to honor Ted Kennedy would be to ensure that every American has access to the latest private health care, as good as what Senators receive." It's an increasingly common conservative suggestion for reform: bolster private health care in such a way that more people have the ability to buy better insurance, thus favoring and encouraging the free market.
  • Huckabee Socialism  Ezra Klein criticized Huckabee's plan from the right, if you can believe that. "Every American should receive the same treatments that the richest, most powerful American gets," he summarized. "Access to health care, in other words, should be governed by need, not by price. Karl Marx would be so proud." Klein, though liberal, wasn't so thrilled with Huckabee's plan. "If every American is encouraged to choose the path of maximal treatment, and if every American has full access to the same treatments as the richest Americans, that would, in fairly short order, bankrupt the country."
  • "You could really do this,"  wrote Matthew Yglesias, who said he would "applaud" such a plan. "Since the federal workforce is so giant, they’re able to attract a large number of different competing insurance plans. On top of that, the government heavily subsidizes premiums." He explained, "You could write a law that says that all Americans will have the right to purchase insurance on these terms with this rate of government subsidy. But you'd obviously have to raise taxes to cover the cost. You'd have to raise taxes quite a bit. And you wouldn't achieve anything in terms of "bending the curve" or getting long-term costs under control. That said, I'm not personally opposed to the idea of higher taxes and I sort of sympathize with the view that we should do access first and cost control later."
  • Huckabee-Yglesias 2012?  Don't count it. "Though you sometimes hear conservatives toss this kind of line off, they never really bore deep down and try to formulate it into a plan," wrote Yglesias. "I’m pretty sure Mike Huckabee doesn’t actually favor that course of action." He concluded, "Huckabee is basically an empty suit who doesn’t know what he’s talking about."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.