Paul Ryan: “Stop segregating poor people into inferior care.”

Vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan on one of the features of his health care plan:

One of the options, and I’ve talked to a lot of governors who say they want this, is to stop segregating poor people into inferior care. You know, where they go into the doctor’s office with “poor person” stamped on their forehead [because] they’re on Medicaid, and more and more doctors won’t even see Medicaid patients anymore because they lose money every time…

And so one of the ideas that I think governors ought to consider is: don’t have them in some sort of separate system that’s just for low-income individuals. Mainline them into the private health insurance system, where they too can choose, with additional resources, private health insurance like everybody else. So the next time they go to the doctor’s office, they’re indistinguishable from anybody else.

(Uncommon Knowledge podcast, recorded 09/27/11. Starts at about 16:15.)

Republicans are often painted as the party that doesn’t care about the poor. In reality, many of us care a great deal about the poor, and think that conservative policies are more helpful to them than liberal ones. Few of our leaders have explained that well. (Interestingly, George W. Bush was great at making this case to hostile audiences, especially when off the teleprompter.) Time will tell, but I believe in Paul Ryan we have someone who’s not afraid to play offense when it comes to the social-justice implications of policy.


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