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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Universal Health Care...Health Care for All...Health Care for All Illegal Aliens

I am convinced that John McCain could save a lot of money in consultants and advisors, and take most of his political cues from Dick Morris' columns. For instance, in his latest, Morris gives McCain a perfect way forward to attack Obama on Iraq.

McCain needs to hammer at one basic theme: that Obama’s pullout plan will lead to a third Iraq war. The Democrat wants to keep substantial numbers of troops next door, to go back into Iraq if necessary. McCain should stress that a premature withdrawal will lead to a collapse - losing the hard-won stability in Iraq, opening the door to an Iranian takeover and al Qaeda revival, and potentially forcing a new US invasion.

Of course, Morris' best advice, in my opinion, to McCain is on health care. You see Obama is fond of proclaiming that 40 plus million folks are uninsured. Furthermore, he proclaims that under his health care plan ALL of them will be insured. Except, here's the rub.

Obama has said, proudly and often, “I am going to give health insurance to 47 million Americans who are now without coverage.” But are they “Americans?”That 47 million statistic includes illegal immigrants - who virtually all lack insurance. In fact, about one in four of those lacking insurance is here illegally. And they are, by far, the group most in need of health insurance.

About 15 million of the remaining uninsured are eligible for Medicaid but haven’t signed up - mainly because they haven’t gotten sick. When they do, they enroll in Medicaid and we pick up the full tab for their health care relatively cheaply. (About 80 percent of each Medicaid dollar goes to nursing-home care for the elderly, only about 20 percent for the medical needs of the poor.)

In fact, Morris' latest words stung so much that they immediately brought about a rebuke from Obama. Here is how Morris described the back and forth.

The Obama campaign complains that the senator has no such plan. Indeed, he’s said his plan “does not” cover illegals: “We’ve got limited resources. And it is important for us that, when we’ve got millions of US citizens that aren’t yet covered, it’s important for us to make sure that they are provided coverage.”

Yet the Congressional Budget Office has confirmed that the 47 million figure includes illegal immigrants. Indeed, The Wall Street Journal criticized Obama’s use of that figure, noting that his plan would fall short of it because it allegedly excludes illegal

Obama can’t have it both ways. He can’t say he will cover 47 million Americans - as he has again and again in speeches and even in a national TV ad as recently as last month - and then turn around and deny that he’ll cover the illegal immigrants who are included in that count.

What has hapened is that Barack Obama has gotten sloppy in trying to make a point. That 47 million number of uninsured was just too tantalizing not to use. He never did figure out what made up that number.

What this shows is that Obama's entire health care plan is nothing more than rhetoric. Given that he claims that his plan doesn't cover illegals even though he uses a number that does, this means that none of his numbers can be trusted. He claims that he will save each person $2,500. That is nonsense. The same kind of nonsense as when he claims that his plan won't cover illegals.

Furthermore, this gives McCain a serious opening to attack Obama. Free health care for illegals is not something most will be open to. If Obama claims his plan won't cover illegals, then McCain can challenge each and every number claimed by Obama in his health care plan. McCain needs to take Morris' advice and turn one of Obama's best issue and put him on the defensive.

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