Mike Huckabee’s Health Care Expertise

Last week, Sam Stein caught Mike Huckabee declaring that Sen. Ted Kennedy would have been told to go home and die under President Obama’s healthcare reform plan:

The 2008 Republican presidential candidate suggested during his radio show, “The Huckabee Report,” on Thursday that, under President Obama’s health care plan, Kennedy would have been told to “go home to take pain pills and die” during his last year of life.

“[I]t was President Obama himself who suggested that seniors who don’t have as long to live might want to consider just taking a pain pill instead of getting an expensive operation to cure them,” said Huckabee. “Yet when Sen. Kennedy was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer at 77, did he give up on life and go home to take pain pills and die? Of course not. He freely did what most of us would do. He choose an expensive operation and painful follow up treatments. He saw his work as vitally important and so he fought for every minute he could stay on this earth doing it. He would be a very fortunate man if his heroic last few months were what future generations remember him most for.”

Where is he getting his misinformation? From Mat Staver?

On a related note, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review conducted an interview with Huckabee recently in which he laid out his own plan for healthcare reform, but bitterly lamented that nobody takes his recommendations seriously “because people still think I’m an idiot”:

HUCKABEE: The real issue is the uninsured. Identify the people who are truly uninsurable. … I’ve said for a long time that they misidentified it. The issue is not who’s uninsured but who’s uninsurable. Some people are uninsured because they choose to be. They either don’t fill out the paperwork for the government programs they already qualify for … or they’re young, healthy, virile, indestructible 20-something-year-olds.

I think there ought to be a high-risk insurance pool … for people who have a debilitating long-term disease — maybe a child who’s hydrocephalic or simply autistic or has severe developmental disabilities. It would work a lot like TEFRA (the Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act) begun in 1982 under Reagan. Only about 18 states participate, but Arkansas was one of them and so that’s why I’m very familiar with it.

We went through a process of revamping it. … The basic idea is that, historically, families would have to impoverish themselves in order to qualify for the assistance that was necessary to keep their child at home. What this did was allow them to get services that they really needed. … We put in a sliding-scale copay. We had parents making $300,000 a year in combined income, so they certainly weren’t qualified for Medicaid. But on the other hand, if they had to suddenly start absorbing $100,000 in medical expenses it would kill them. So they ended up paying a portion of it.

Q: Has anybody approached you or tried to follow Arkansas’ lead on that?

HUCKABEE: No, because people still think I’m an idiot. I think I could walk across the Atlantic Ocean to Paris and, you know, they would come along and say that Huckabee can’t swim.