Sarah Palin's Reckless Approach to Health Care
On Wednesday, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, a relatively unknown figure to a majority of Americans before last week, addressed the Republican National Convention and accepted her party's nomination for Vice President. But what do we know about the policies favored by this woman running for second in command (who could conceivably take the reins as POTUS)? Primarily that she has done very little to stand up for the rights of health care consumers or the uninsured (even kids!). Sarah Palin's silence on health care reform speaks loud and clear. Just like John McCain, she is business as usual by putting the private market interests before consumers.
For one, Palin ignored experts and lobbied to eliminate Alaska's Certificate of Need (CON) program which is designed to reduce costs by requiring that new health care facilities be pre-approved. There are a number of studies that show that CON programs do, in fact, reduce costs although Palin begs to differ in this op-ed. Rather, Governor Palin has aggressively supported a more free-market approach to health care reform, advocating for private market competition over reasonable regulation. In January of this year when talking about the CON program, she was quoted as saying that
"Market mechanisms..." are the best way to ensure that "proper business decision-making guides the development of health care services." (Click here for original text.)Palin's business model approach to our health care system is closely in-sync with Senator McCain's, who would rather see the private market control cost and access, with little protections for consumers.
Even her approach to children's health care leaves much to be desired. Although she signed a bill restoring eligibility levels for Denali KidCare (her state's version of CHIP) to 175 percent of poverty, Alaska is still one of only seven states with eligibility levels below twice the poverty level. In 2006, 22,227 Alaskan children received coverage through Denali KidCare, while 21,197 kids remained uninsured.
The icing on the cake: Palin did not once mention health care in her speech. Here is a transcript.