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Card: Health Care Is A ‘Want,’ Not A ‘Need’ — ‘Don’t Have The Government Fund It’

By Matt Corley  

"Card: Health Care Is A ‘Want,’ Not A ‘Need’ — ‘Don’t Have The Government Fund It’"

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During the White House’s health care summit yesterday, President Obama said that “there are those who say we should defer health care reform once again” because they claim “that at a time of economic crisis, we simply can’t afford to fix our health care system as well.” “If we want to create jobs and rebuild our economy and get our federal budget under control, then we have to address the crushing costs of health care this year in this administration,” Obama said of such criticisms.

But while Obama was making the case that health care reform is both “a moral imperative” and “a fiscal imperative,” former Bush chief of staff Andrew Card was arguing on Fox News that reform needs to wait. “We have got a huge crisis in our economy, and I think we have got to solve that problem first,” said Card.

Asked by Neil Cavuto if the health care summit was “a waste of time,” Card responded that instead of working on health care, Obama should “establish a needs commission and fund that which the economy needs, not what everybody wants”:

CAVUTO: What would you do? What would you do? I mean, would you say, Mr. President, I know you are passionate about health care; now is not the time to do it; this thing at the White House now going on now, a waste of time? What?

CARD: I would establish a needs commission and fund that which the economy needs, not what everybody wants.

Let people work hard for their wants, but don’t have the government fund it. Let them fund the needs and restore the economy to a sense of what the appropriate level of risk is.

Watch it:

Card’s argument echoes Rep. Zach Wamp’s (R-TN) claim that health care is “a privilege,” not “a right” for all Americans. But as ThinkProgress noted yesterday, healthcare for Americans cannot — from an economic or a humanitarian standpoint — be viewed as a “privilege” or a simple “want.”

Despite what Card claims, the economic crisis shouldn’t delay health care reform. In fact, it demands reform. As a New America Foundation study has found, “the economic and social impact of inaction” on health care “is high and it will only rise over time.”

Transcript:

CAVUTO: Andrew, you know, at this White House summit on health care, they just applauded Ted Kennedy, of course, the patriarch, if you will, for health care reform in this country.

But the president has had a lot of these kind of summits for long, forward-looking problems, health care chief among them. Is he mixing the message here? Is he trying to do too much too soon?

CARD: Well, I think he is trying to do it all. And I don’t fault him for wanting to do it all. It is just that the country does not know what they’re buying right now. And that is because we have got a huge crisis in our economy, and I think we have got to solve that problem first. This is not about wants. It’s about needs.

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: What would you do? What would you do? I mean, would you say, Mr. President, I know you are passionate about health care; now is not the time to do it; this thing at the White House now going on now, a waste of time? What?

CARD: I would establish a needs commission and fund that which the economy needs, not what everybody wants.

Let people work hard for their wants, but don’t have the government fund it. Let them fund the needs and restore the economy to a sense of what the appropriate level of risk is. I think we do — we have gone beyond discovering what the appropriate level of risk is.

If we don’t fund risk, we are not going to grow the economy, so we have got to find out what that level of risk is, rather than just taking everybody’s wants and piling into some spending bill and funding everybody’s wants. That is just the wrong way to go.

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