Things got a little heated by NPR standards when NPR’s host Steve Inskeep ask Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele to clarify his inconsistent statements regarding the governments role in health-care. After becoming a bit discombobulated, Steele snaps and says “Hold up. You’re doing a wonderful little dance here and trying to be cute”.
I applaud Inskeep for questioning the logic of Steele’s Washington Post Op-ed. You cannot have health care reform or industry regulation without some sort of government involvement, whether by commission, panel or otherwise, someone has to decide the game plan and then enforce it. Steele’s inconsistency is indicative of the current state of the Republican party, he is talking out of both sides of his mouth and he was busted for it.
Here is the show’s transcript in case you didn’t understand Steele in panic mode.
STEVE INSKEEP, host:
Republican Party Chairman Michael Steele is making proposals on health care. He wrote in the Washington Post that he opposes a government-run health care system. His party has attacked government involvement in health care all summer. That rhetoric is complicated by something else Steele wants to do. As part of what he calls a Bill of Rights for Seniors, Chairman Steele writes, quote, “We need to protect Medicare and not cut it in the name of health insurance reform.” Democratic health care plans assume big savings by reworking the government’s Medicare program for seniors. When we sat down with Steele early this week, we asked what he wants to do with Medicare.
Mr. MICHAEL STEELE (Republican Party Chairman): What makes it a valuable program is that it is the last line of opportunity to receive health care for a lot of our seniors, and it has been now for – since the 1960s. The problem is, as we all note, that the system has been raided over the years, from time to time. It’s become bloated, and in some cases efficiencies have not been maxed out. Therefore, it’s running into problems where, you know, every few years we’re having stories about Medicare falling apart and, you know, we’ve already projected it’s going to be out of money in a few years.
INSKEEP: It’s going to run out of money.
Mr. STEELE: Exactly.
INSKEEP: But you’re coming here against reducing the spending on Medicare, restraining Medicare.
Mr. STEELE: No, no, no, no, no, no. That’s not coming out against reducing the spending. That is not – I mean, that’s a wonderful interpretation by the left, but what I was saying was don’t go raiding the program without some sense of what we’re taking from the program, the impact it’s going to have on the senior citizens out there. You know, raiding a program that’s already bankrupt to pay for another program that we can’t afford is not good public policy.