Newt Gingrich last night explained that his views on healthcare reform are startlingly close to the specifics of the Affordable Care Act, and labeled the extreme anti-Medicare budget of Paul Ryan as unacceptably radical. Gingrich continues to say he wants to repeal what he calls Obamacare, but he explicitly endorsed both the idea that everyone should help to pay for medical insurance and that a requirement to buy insurance (an individual mandate) might be the best approach.
Gingrich’s departure from the rest of the Republican field —which seems to be gambling everything on the idea that the individual mandate (long THE Republican idea for achieving universal coverage) is in fact an unconstitutional overreach— came on the same day when Mike Huckabee announced he would not run for the Republican nomination to challenge Barack Obama. The suggestion would be that following the Republican party’s prevailing dogma cannot lead to victory in 2012.
Lawrence O’Donnell described Rand Paul’s allegation that physicians live like slaves in the United States as “demented”. O’Donnell explained: “It may come as a big surprise to Rand Paul to discover, as a physician specialist, whose median income, as we’ve pointed out, in this country, is now over $340,000, that slaves were actually paid much less than that. How much less? $340,000 less. Rand Paul, a medical specialist, who’s lived and worked in the country where physicians make more money than anywhere else in the world, actually has the ugly, hysterically self-centered and vile audacity to equate his rich self to a slave. Nothing more unhinged from reality and decency has been said, in the United States Senate, in our time. It is utterly unpardonable.”
Rand Paul explains that if you believe healthcare is a right, then “You have to realize what that implies; it’s not an abstraction. I’m a physician; that means you have a right to come to my house and conscript me; it means you believe in slavery. It means that you’re going to enslave not only me, but the janitor at my hospital, the person who cleans my office, the assistants who work in my office, the nurses…”