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|Fleming, Jindal got it right|
Largely not heard from on the national scene since his televised response to Barack Obama's State of the Union speech, Gov. Bobby Jindal says he's kept a low profile over the past few months to focus on issues of concern in Louisiana.
More specific, Jindal says the regular legislative session kept him rather busy as of late. It would be within reason, however, to suggest Jindal needed to cool his heels for a spell to allow enough time to elapse so the people would forget about his less-than-impressive rebuttal to Obama.
In writing a guest column for the political Web site, politico.com, Jindal reemerged on the national front earlier this week, touting accomplishments he says his administration has achieved thus far in 2009. The administration achieved them, Jindal wrote, amid an atmosphere in which the Obama administration and a Democratic-controlled Congress grapple with wasteful bailouts and deficit spending while raising taxes seems to be the order of the day.
Yet, it was Jindal's remarks about health care reform, which the Congress is considering at this time, that signaled Jindal has resurfaced, so to speak, as a player in Republican Party politics. Lord knows, the GOP needs a leader.
Jindal's move back into the national spotlight could not have occurred at a better time—politically—since Obama's approval ratings have plummeted thanks to the public's recognition that the former junior senator from Illinois is in way over his head, or knows little except to divide the country along racial and socio-economic lines.
Here's what Jindal had to say about health care in his politico.com piece:
"I know a little something about health care policy, and I can tell you exactly the game that is currently afoot. If the House Democrats' plan were to become law, the president's statement that "if you like your health care now, you can keep it" will not be true. This is not an opinion, this is a fact.
"Businesses will, in effect, be forced to send employees into the Democrats' government-run health care. It's really not something to argue about; it is a fact. A private health insurance system, otherwise known as what we have today, will not be able to compete with a taxpayer-subsidized government plan, and businesses faced with growing health care costs will opt to either lay off more workers or send employees into the government plan. One independent study already suggested that up to 119 million Americans will end up leaving their private plans for the public plan. To think otherwise requires one to suspend disbelief.
"The plan the House Democrats are developing is a radical restructuring of health care in America. You may like it, you may not, but it is just that; there is no denying or sugarcoating it."
Jindal was right on every point. He obviously recognizes, too, that the primary health care reform bill the U.S. House is considering would do little to control costs while it relies upon a $600 billion tax increase to help pay for a program that, in time, would cost the taxpayers more than $1 trillion. The Senate's stab at health care reform isn't much better.
The only downside—if there was one—to Jindal's politico.com offering was the governor could have used his perch to call on every member of Louisiana's congressional delegation to take a stand on whether they would enroll in a government-run health care program created by the Congress.
Allow me to elaborate.
As it stands now, the health care reform bills currently under consideration in the House and Senate would allow members of the Congress to keep their gold-plated health insurance policies. In other words, while us commoners (small business owners and individuals) out here in middle America stare at more expensive private health insurance premiums or opt to enroll in a government-run health insurance program, members of Congress could continue to reap the benefits of that very lucrative health insurance program members enjoy today.
I say what's good for the goose is good for the gander.
4th District Congressman Dr. John Fleming apparently feels that way, too.
Fleming, a Republican from Minden, co-authored a resolution in the House, which called on members to enroll in the new government-run health insurance plan in lieu of the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program.
Isn't it ironic we haven't heard a peep from the other members of the Louisiana congressional delegation in response to Fleming's resolution?
We probably won't hear a peep from them either.
Jindal could change that if he'd use his position to put them on the spot.