Saving the Poor From Health Insurance

As we wait to figure out if Marco Rubio’s big new poverty proposal amounts to a hill of beans, it’s useful to recall that this whole GOP discussion of poverty is probably (a) a momentary response to the problem/opportunity of a debate over the subject required by media attention to the 50th anniversary of the launching of the War on Poverty, combined with discussion of the currently deteriorating situation of those towards the bottom of the income ladder; and (b) a tactic to parry Democratic attacks on the GOP for its opposition to a UI extension.

If you want to be reminded of the enduring GOP message for 2014, here’s Reince Priebus, who was being asked about poverty policy:

We can’t ignore that federal, top-down bureaucracies have lost this war [on poverty]… Obviously, people need a job and they need a good job so that they can pay the bills, and they don’t need to be straddled with Obamacare.

Yes, that’s right, the poor are being tormented either by Medicaid or the prospect of qualifying for Medicaid or Obamacare subsidies via the Affordable Care Act. So by all means, let’s start by liberating them from health insurance.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.