On paper, Rick Perry entered the race as arguably the strongest contender to get the GOP Presidential nomination.
• Governors do better than members of Congress in presidential politics, particularly in a year when Congress has record-low support. Perry was a long-serving Governor who had never worked in DC.
• Southerners tend do better than northerners in a Dixie–dominated GOP party. Perry was arguably the only southerner in the field. (I think Newt feels more DC to most.)
• Republicans are seemingly more obsessed than ever with the Reagan mystique. Perry’s swagger and look was arguably the most Reaganesque.
• The economy is the paramount issue in 2012. Perry had been running a state doing relatively well economically.
• Presidential campaigns require lots of money. The darling of the Texas corporate class and national political opportunists had more money than most in the field, both for his own campaign and for pro-Perry Super PACs.
• Republican activists are very intolerant of political compromise. Perry had governed in a state so conservative than he rarely had to compromise (unlike Romney and Pawlenty, for instance).
• Being a white male Protestant conservative is a key political asset in the Republican Party. Post-Pawlenty, Perry had that advantage to himself.
Because Perry was so strong on paper, I originally thought he would win the nomination, and had the best shot against Obama. He had the longest list of important political assets.
But at the end of the day, Presidents are not picked on paper. You have to execute, and Perry just was never able to execute on a communications level. Oops.
This week the Minnesota Hospital Association (MHA) announced that its member hospitals paid $226 million in “charity care” last year. The MHA is referring to instances when uninsured and underinsured patients are unable to pay their hospital bills, and the hospitals get stuck with the expenses.
While the term “charity care” is used by hospitals, hospitals don’t end up bearing the whole burden. They make up for the bills substantially by charging more to their insured patients, and insurance companies subsequently shift these higher costs to insurance premium payers.
This post isn’t meant to be a criticism of either the hospitals or the insurers. They would go out of business if they couldn’t shift costs.
But it is meant to be a criticism of Obamacare obstructionists. The MHA numbers are a reminder that those who have been aggressively blocking efforts to reduce the number of uninsured and underinsured through Obamacare are responsible for maintaining what is akin to an enormous annual tax on premium payers. An Anti-Obamacare Tax.
Given that a fully implemented Obamacare is predicted to reduce the uninsured rate from today’s 50.7 million people to about 18.7 million, and the number of underinsured people by about 70%, leaders opposing Obamacare in Congress, state legislatures and federal courts are effectively blocking the elimination of a huge annual burden on American households. If the anti-Obamacare obstructionists win, we all keep paying this Anti-Obamacare Tax.
And it’s not a small tax. In Ramsey County, taxpayers are up in arms over a proposed $10 million per year tax for the Vikings stadium. This hidden Anti-Obamacare Tax is much more painful. The Center for American Progress finds “on average, 8 percent of families’ 2009 health care premiums—approximately $1,100 a year—is due to our broken system that fails to cover the uninsured.”