By Robert Mann
Let’s be honest. Gov. Bobby Jindal’s best quality is not honesty. For years, he’s peddled fictional accounts of his fiscal conservatism, his devotion to education reform, his commitment to religious liberty, his concern about the state’s environment and his belief in government transparency.
When Jindal is talking, he’s usually spinning, which is why I was shocked to read that Jindal had spoken the truth about his ideas for the nation’s health care system. Of course, when I realized that Jindal’s remarks were made in private, it all made sense.
As described in a new book by conservative author Philip Klein, Jindal met last April in Washington, D.C., with a group of conservative journalists and policy experts. He was there to tout an Obamacare alternative created by his pre-presidential campaign organization, America Next. (Jindal’s proposal is an “alternative” to Obamacare in the same way that the Cliff’s Notes version of “War and Peace” is an alternative to Tolstoy’s original work.)
As the group peppered Jindal with questions about his health care proposal, Jindal reportedly paid President Obama an unexpected compliment. Jindal said Obama had been willing, as Klein wrote, “to pay a political price to advance his agenda and [Jindal] said Republicans needed to be willing to do the same.” Obama was willing to risk losing the Congress and derailing his other important legislative priorities. “He said Republicans should be thinking the same way and [be] willing to risk political blowback to repeal Obamacare and push a market-based alternative,” Klein reported, ignoring the fact that Obamacare is, in fact, market based.
And what bold, politically risky proposal did Jindal proffer? Why, Jindal suggested Republicans abandon the notion that every American deserves decent and affordable health insurance coverage.
“If we start with the premise that we’ve gotta give every single person a card,” Jindal reportedly said, “and that’s the only way we can be successful, we’re done. We’ve adopted their metric of success … if the metric of success is gonna be which plan can say ‘we’ve given people more cards,’ they always win.”
Oh, the shame of helping people to get health insurance! How do those dastardly Democrats sleep at night?
Jindal does seem quite eager to revoke those insurance cards. “I do think it’s a mistake if we argue we can’t take back what Obama has already given,” Jindal told the conservative group.
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