As RNC chair, Michael Steele made it clear that his election strategy for the 2010 midterms was to elect Republicans that would repeal the new health care law. “We will work night and day to elect congressmen and senators to undo it, because this is not what America needs right now,” he said. And Steele specifically praised states’ efforts to challenge the provision in the new law requiring Americans to purchase health insurance, calling it a “gross overreach of the federal government.”
During an interview with Steele last night on CNN, host Eliot Spitzer noted that New York Times conservative columnist Ross Douthat had recently acknowledged the real purpose of the mandate and eventually got Steele to admit that the “logic” of it is correct:
SPITZER: What this system does is says they — these 30 million people — will contribute and therefore everybody else not only saves money because their taxes and premiums can go down, but more important, the care of this 30 million receives will be rationally delivered. … Why is that logic wrong?
STEELE: Well, I’m not saying the logic is wrong. But the logic can be right, but the cost can be a real pain in the you-know-what. … You didn’t show. You drew a circle. You’re not showing me how you save any money. Where is the savings? Where is the savings? I see no savings. I see a circle with an arrow.
SPITZER: Michael, you acknowledge the logic was pretty compelling. Let me just say this.
STEELE: Look, I’m all for logic. I want to know how much it’s going to cost me and my family and my business.
SPITZER: All right. All right. We’ve reached a big — [...] This is a good news interview because we agreed that we both like logic.
So Steele is “all for” the logic of the health insurance mandate, but his main concern seems to be the cost. While it’s unclear what cost Steele is referring to, the CBO said the fees levied from the insurance requirement would bring in nearly $70 billion over 10 years and that repealing the entire law itself — what Steele wants to do — would actually cost the federal government $230 billion over the same time frame. But if Steele is referring to the individual cost of insurance, then that is part of the “logic” behind the mandate that he agrees with: bringing more people into the insurance pool in order to bring costs down.
Spitzer is pretty good at getting conservatives who are against the mandate to admit that the “logic” of it is sound. Earlier this month, he pushed new Tea Party-backed Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) on whether the mandate “makes sense.” “Yes, I understand the logic of it,” Lee finally admitted.