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Will Conway

Conway Travels to Des Moines for Townhall on "The Big Idea" on National Health Insurance

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Florida Senator Will Conway is in Des Moines, Iowa, for the purpose of setting out his plan for health insurance reform, which is an integral part of his "Big Idea" for replacing massive government spending programs with an annual allowance for every American citizen or legal resident alien from the age of 21 until death.

"Thank you all for coming out here this evening.  I entered this race because I want to present some Big Ideas to the American people.  One Big Idea is a complete overhaul of how we provide health care coverage in this country.  Right now, as you are all too aware, the way we cover health care costs is a mess.  In aggregate, health care swallows up an enormous share of our national income, over 17% of GDP, and we still do not have universal coverage.   We have a patchwork system of Government programs on the one hand, above all Medicare and Medicaid, and private insurance on the other.  A major problem with third party payer insurance ... public or private ... is that it encourages excessive charges for even simple procedures.  You have all heard the crazy stories about what hospitals charge for aspirin, for instance.  We can do better than this!

My plan for health insurance is quite simple:  we treat it like auto insurance.  Anyone who needs or wants to drive a vehicle needs auto insurance, which is regulated at the state level, albeit with some minimum federal guidelines.  Auto insurance is designed to cover you for major expenses, like your car being totalled in an accident.  It also contributes to a common liability fund so that covers every motorist.  When you choose an auto plan, you make a trade off between lower premiums or lower deductions.  But you do not have your auto insurance pay for routine maintenance, gasoline, and so on.  

Health insurance should function the same way.  My proposal is to get government out of the business of providing health care coverage while maintaining a regulatory role.  For example, the government will legally require every private insurer to calculate costs based on one unified national pool of consumers.  Meaning ... instead of calculating costs based on age or gender, every potential customer will be rated exactly the same.  

This also means that of necessity, everyone must purchase health insurance, just as they purchase auto insurance.  Before the individual mandate got all caught up in partisan disputes during the Obama presidency, it was actually a conservative, free-market idea, promoted by the Heritage Foundation.  That is something we must do in order to achieve universal coverage.  There is no way around it.  

The default level of coverage will be for catastrophic costs, defined as long term illness or some catastrophic event like a heart attack, stroke, or an accident requiring hospitalization.  If people prefer to purchase more comprehensive coverage, they may do so, but will not be required to.  They will make the necessary cost-benefit analysis.

Another reform we must have is to simplify how we receive health care.  The fact is, you do not have to visit a fully equipped doctor's office for many things.  Because of the advances in medical technology, even a basically-trained technician can do blood work for you, like finding out your cholesterol or glucose levels.  Indeed, when it comes to annual physicals and preventative care, a doctor may not be needed at all.

And finally, tort reform has to happen so that costs associated with practicing "defensive medicine" drop.  

So these are the basic elements of the health insurance reforms I propose.  I'll take questions now.

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Isn't it disingenuous to tout a Heritage scheme that came out as a response to the full blown socialist plan Hillary that came out with in the 90's? Not only does your plan fly in face of a hundred years of conservative thought, but Heritage has since walked back the sheme you cite, and even came out with an article on how to replace the Obama individual mandate, by Robert E. Moffit a senior fellow in The Heritage Foundation's Center for Health Policy Studies?

Aren't you using that old Heritage plan as a pretext to pass off your brand of warmed over progressivism as right wing?

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7 minutes ago, Pizzuto said:

Isn't it disingenuous to tout a Heritage scheme that came out as a response to the full blown socialist plan Hillary that came out with in the 90's? Not only does your plan fly in face of a hundred years of conservative thought, but Heritage has since walked back the sheme you cite, and even came out with an article on how to replace the Obama individual mandate, by Robert E. Moffit a senior fellow in The Heritage Foundation's Center for Health Policy Studies?

Aren't you using that old Heritage plan as a pretext to pass off your brand of warmed over progressivism as right wing?

 

I'm sorry, I did not catch your name.  And you are ...?

But I will answer your question. Unfortunately, it comes from an inaccurate premise.  The very first time the Heritage Foundation broached the idea of an individual mandate was in 1989, a year when the idea of Bill Clinton becoming President, with Hillary as Co-President, was unimaginable.  I would argue they changed their view when the issue became a partisan one.

In addition, Charles Murray, who is no one's idea of a progressive, set out this exact plan in his book "In Our Hands."  

This plan encourages people to be careful health care consumers.  It's a big step towards personal responsibility.  

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You're skipping the part where the Heritage plan was clearly an outlier on the traditional right and their plan illicited scorn from the rest of the intellectual right, including a stinging 3 page letter from the Cato Institute and an article from National Review stressing strong disagreements.

So we have a plan rejected by the majority of conservatarian thought leaders, and a plan Heritage has since rejected. Youre free to tout the plan, but isn't it intellectually dishonest to pretend this measure has foundational connective tissue with anything conservative?

Edited by Pizzuto

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8 minutes ago, Will Conway said:

So you acknowledge your question was based on a faulty premise? At all, while the plan was devised in the late 80's, it got it's day in the sun as a gelled set of principles in in 1994 during the healthcare debate as it was then that the plan was pitched in Congress. 

But the premise is : youyoure touting this plan as mainstream conservative thought, but it really isn't, correct? 

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Will you acknowledge that the idea of the individual mandate was not developed in response to Hillary Clinton in the 1990s?  I mean that's a pretty glaring error.  We need to be on the same page here.

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Fair enough, it caught on as a tangible concept to govern as a response to Hillary are. But even conceding that doesn't really take away from the questions.

1- has it ever been considered mainstream conservative thought?

2- how is federal govenrment mandating citizens buy a product connected to conservatism?

3- if a voter didn't like the Obamacare mandate, as Heritage didn't, why should they like your?

80's or 90's those are the relevant questions that remain regardless.

Edited by Pizzuto

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7 minutes ago, Phillip Huffines said:

Mr. Conway,

What individuals do you consider your ideological influences?

I have been inspired by people willing to reject the conventional wisdom and make bold moves for change and reform.  Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher have been an inspiration to me.  They did things that defied the conventional wisdom and prevailed.

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A tall man wearing a Ron Paul 2020 shirt takes the microphone. 

Are you concerned that the GOP is shifting from a free market, limited government, Goldwater conservative party to a party of Dixiecrats, Hyper Nationalists, and displaced white Democrats from the Midwest?  

 

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26 minutes ago, Pizzuto said:

Fair enough, it caught on as a tangible concept to govern as a response to Hillary are. But even conceding that doesn't really take away from the questions.

1- has it ever been considered mainstream conservative thought?

2- how is federal govenrment mandating citizens buy a product connected to conservatism?

3- if a voter didn't like the Obamacare mandate, as Heritage didn't, why should they like your?

80's or 90's those are the relevant questions that remain regardless.

 

Your questioning seems to shift around a bit.  Previously, you wanted me to deny that this idea had any connection to conservative thought at all.  Now you want me to speculate about whether it is "mainstream" conservative thought.  Well, I never claimed that all conservatives supported it, so that is rather a red herring.  I will acknowledge that conservative individuals and groups have had differing opinions on the idea over time.  That is true of almost any policy you can think of, by the way.  But I have relied on impeccably conservative sources in crafting this plan, and if you look at the details of the plan, you will see that it gets government out of the business of providing health care and leaves it to the free market.  If that is not a conservative idea, I do not know what is.  

In our country, we all accept certain restraints on individual freedom.  We do not fund our military by voluntary contributions.  We do not allow people to simply disobey the orders of a policeman or court.  And we do not allow people to drive vehicles without insurance.  The choice is really not between "all freedom or no freedom."   This plan expands freedom to people to make their own decisions about their health care coverage from what we have today. My plan is really nothing like Obamacare because Obamacare built on the already existing system and was forcing people to buy insurance that did not suit their needs.  My proposal eliminates all federal health programs and sets a baseline level of catastrophic care only for people who carry insurance.  If they want better coverage, that is their choice.  

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1 hour ago, Cardinalfan9 said:

A tall man wearing a Ron Paul 2020 shirt takes the microphone. 

Are you concerned that the GOP is shifting from a free market, limited government, Goldwater conservative party to a party of Dixiecrats, Hyper Nationalists, and displaced white Democrats from the Midwest?  

 

Well, there have always been different streams of thought within the Republican Party.  We have never been entirely a free market, limited government Goldwater type party, although that has been our animating direction for many years.  

I will simply say that much of what the Fitzgerald Administration has done has been good for the free market, like lowering taxes and rolling back regulations.  At the same time, I think it is also fair to say that I would be more thoroughgoing in my policies towards the market.  For example, as much as I respect and have affection for the President, I spoke out against steel and aluminum tarrifs because they will increase costs to the consumer and cost hundreds of thousands of jobs, in order to solve a "problem" that is not actually a problem, as the United States makes 70% of its own steel, far exceeding what the Pentagon has said what we need for national security purposes.  And, the steel industry is very profitable.  This is not an industry that needs protecting in the slightest.

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Would a citizen go to jail if they didn't pay your individual mandate?

 

 

On 5/16/2018 at 1:55 PM, Will Conway said:

 

Your questioning seems to shift around a bit.  Previously, you wanted me to deny that this idea had any connection to conservative thought at all.  Now you want me to speculate about whether it is "mainstream" conservative thought.  Well, I never claimed that all conservatives supported it, so that is rather a red herring.  I will acknowledge that conservative individuals and groups have had differing opinions on the idea over time.  That is true of almost any policy you can think of, by the way.  But I have relied on impeccably conservative sources in crafting this plan, and if you look at the details of the plan, you will see that it gets government out of the business of providing health care and leaves it to the free market.  If that is not a conservative idea, I do not know what is.  

In our country, we all accept certain restraints on individual freedom.  We do not fund our military by voluntary contributions.  We do not allow people to simply disobey the orders of a policeman or court.  And we do not allow people to drive vehicles without insurance.  The choice is really not between "all freedom or no freedom."   This plan expands freedom to people to make their own decisions about their health care coverage from what we have today. My plan is really nothing like Obamacare because Obamacare built on the already existing system and was forcing people to buy insurance that did not suit their needs.  My proposal eliminates all federal health programs and sets a baseline level of catastrophic care only for people who carry insurance.  If they want better coverage, that is their choice. W

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