Democratic candidate for Georgia governor Stacey Abrams went on an anti-free market tirade at a town hall in Atlanta on Sunday.
Abrams, who Democrats hope will defeat Republican candidate Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp, criticized ideas for free-market reforms in health care because she said she’s never “seen” free market solutions work. An RNC associated YouTube account, “GOP War Room,” posted video of her remarks.
“Our fundamental responsibility is to take care of the least of these, especially when the least of these are working families who only want a little bit of access to health care,” Abrams said. “And I am sick and tired of hearing about the free market being the solution to this problem because I’ve never seen the free market write a prescription in rural Georgia.”
“I mean, I’ve never seen the free market show up and give someone Metformin so they can have a little bit of control of their diabetes before it turns into an amputation of their foot,” she continued. “I’ve never seen the free market say I’m going to replace that stent in your heart next door and not make you go 200 miles to get it done. The problem with the free market is the free market needs to make a profit and there is no profit in doing the right thing.”
It would be easy to point and laugh at the socialist Democrat attacking the free market, or to counter with a point about how long wait times for inefficient socialized medicine make so-called “universal” access to health care meaningless since you can’t see your doctor when you need to. Others have addressed the multiple problems of government-run health care schemes.
But there is a big problem it seems no one wants to address, namely that Republicans can’t counter Abrams’ point. Why? Because they took ownership of Obamacare. They’ve accepted Democratic premises on government’s role in regulating health care, on having a system of subsidized health benefits instead of health insurance. Republicans have stopped talking about how, as Conservative Review’s Daniel Horowitz summarizes, “the Obamacare regulations, subsidies, and Medicaid expansion have created an unhealthy monopoly of insurers and health administrators, forced doctors into early retirement, and made insurance for all those not subsidized completely unaffordable.”
While Republicans pay lip-service to free market ideas, they’ve advanced none of them in Congress. With their failure to repeal Obamacare, health insurance costs have continued to skyrocket, leaving too many Americans demanding a fix from a Congress that has punted on the issue under the GOP’s watch.
So you know what? As much as Abrams’ anti-free market rant is worth ridiculing, conservatives must face the fact that her message is going to resonate with voters because the Republican Party has not lowered health care costs. And with Congress out of session and just two weeks before the election, the GOP may have lost the opportunity to take legislative action on health care and prove her wrong.
The Democrats have been perfectly clear throughout this election cycle that they will enact a single-payer Medicare for All program if they win back power. If Republicans survive the midterm elections, the conservative movement in politics and media must forcefully demand action on health care, else we risk losing the argument for health care freedom for good.
Chris Pandolfo is a staff writer and type-shouter for Conservative Review. He holds a B.A. in politics and economics from Hillsdale College. His interests are conservative political philosophy, the American founding, and progressive rock. Follow him on Twitter for doom-saying and great album recommendations @ChrisCPandolfo.
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