Opinion: Giuliani to the uninsured: Good luck

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Rudy Giuliani at least gets credit for not trying to paper over the obvious.

As previewed in an earlier item here, he unveiled today his plan for grappling with the nation’s health care problems. The proposal is centered around creating a tax deduction of up to $15,000 for families to buy their own health insurance from private companies, rather than relying on benefits provided by employers. The idea is very similar to one President Bush has pushed --- to absolutely no avail in Congress.

As for the uninsured, Giuliani is taking a laissez-faire approach to getting them coverage. Newday’s Craig Gordon was with the former New York mayor on the campaign trail, and he writes that Giuliani agreed the uninsured ‘would find relief in his plan only after the free-market forces pushed the cost of private health insurance down far enough for the uninsured to afford it --- a process he acknowledged could take years.’


Giuliani also echoed his past criticism of the various health care ideas promoted by Democratic presidential candidates, dismissing them as ‘socialized’ medicine (a favorite GOP attack line that some party stalwarts used in the 1960s to oppose Medicare).

Giuliani is the first of the major Republican presidential contenders to offer anything close to a detailed blueprint on the health care issue. Although the others may present plans that envision a more direct federal role in efforts to reduce the ranks of the uninsured, it is highly doubtful any will be as ambitious as proposals pushed by the Democrats. By the time the general election campaign commences, the question of how aggressively the government should address this subject almost assuredly will loom as a major divide between the two parties.

-- Don Frederick