Monday, September 26, 2011

Rick Santorum's September Swagger

The title is not wrong because Rick Santorum has come out of September with swagger!

I know that may come as a shock to some readers, as I am not a fan of Santorum, however, what I saw during the FOX/Google debate this past week proved me right. A relaxed Rick Santorum is a coherent candidate and not the spaz so many Pennsylvanians have been accustomed to for so many years.

Santorum gave many answers that were simple and understandable, but I like the fight he brought forth as well, which is probably why he finished fourth in the Florida Straw Poll. Finishing fourth is something Santorum should hold his head up high over.

This doesn’t mean I am endorsing Santorum, for I do not see him coming close to a Presidency, however, it means that many need to rethink their previous observations of how much fight Santorum has.

He came out fighting and took his shots at the “anointed” front runner Gov Rick Perry. He hit Left with “Bi-National Health Insurance” and jabbed Right with “Free in state tuition for Illegal aliens,” two examples that had people talking about Santorum and what they see as needless unwarranted spending by State and Federal governments.

But, and yes, there’s always a “but” involved, it took Forbes Magazine less than a day to come to Gov Rick Perry’s defense on the “Bi-National Health Insurance” idea. As Forbes Magazine states, “it’s the type of free market policy solutions that America needs.”

In 2001, the talk of a “Bi-National Health Insurance” between Texas and Mexico was to help Business lower labor costs and keep money in the Medicaid system. Example: If a Mexican national is legally working in Texas, he/she may get health insurance through their employer, but policy prohibits their family members to be on that insurance plan. So his/her family is left uninsured. Also under the policy is that if he/she gets ill or has a medical need while home in Mexico, the employee would get the full brunt of the hospital cost.

The part of the plan was to help reduce Texas’ Medicaid costs as so many uninsured Mexicans continue to seek uncompensated medical care in US Hospital Emergency rooms.

The plan is a spin of legislation passed in California in the late 1990’s. Blue Shield of Ca offers such a plan. Their reasoning is pretty simple, medical costs and procedures cost almost 50% less in Mexico and their doctors are as competent as those in the US.

Maybe they were schooled in the US?

Blue Shield of Ca saw the idea of “medical tourism” in the late 1990’s before it became common in the mid 2000’s. It’s not unheard of that US citizens seek medical procedures in other nations, as it is cheaper to pay out of pocket then have to deal with their Health Insurance provider in the US.

An appendectomy in Singapore costs roughly 1/3 of price here in the US, with less Post Op time to boot.

Wonder if I could book a trip to Disney Asia and a lobotomy with my travel agent?

Yet, as the Texas business community went head over heels for the idea, it was scrapped as the Texas physicians lobby rallied with claims the plan would ruin their practice and destroy the Texas hospital system.

Santorum’s other point of “Free in state tuition for illegal aliens” hit a massive nerve with many viewers. I can understand Gov Perry’s thought that providing such “tuition” could provide the illegal alien with a pathway to citizenship, thus they would become a Texas resident and so on.

However, the fact that there are currently 12 total states that provide a form of “Free in state tuition for illegal aliens” and another 8 with legislation pending seems insane.

Texas, California, New York, Utah, Illinois, Washington, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Wisconsin and Kansas all have passed state law providing such benefits for state universities, their only hitch is that they have attended high school for three or more years. Maryland has a law but it only provides for community colleges. Texas law is the only one that allows illegal aliens apply for financial aid through the state.

I checked on this and the states of Florida, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oregon, Tennessee and Virginia had similar laws pending.

Now before you start yelling “bunch of liberal governors” make note that 12 of the 20 states listed have Republican governors. It’s not a Texas or a Southern States issue, its spreads coast to coast, border to border.

Now, there is a federal law that states it is illegal for an illegal alien to receive federal funding, so couldn’t we agree that the Dept of Education and the Federal government did something right?

But Santorum’s point was simple, the average “in state” cost to attend college or university in Texas is around $9k, while someone coming from out of state will pay close to double. And in 2010, there was close to 4,500 illegal aliens (in one form or another) receiving free in state Texas tuition. That’s over $40 million dollars awarded.

Here’s factoid, Texas ranks 50th in public K-12education and currently has cut $65 million in its public K- 12 education program leaving the program under-funded and lacking in current textbooks.

Well I believe the lack in current textbooks is a result of the Texas School board 2 year battle of wanting to change textbooks such as history to add the likes of Limbaugh and omit or footnote more prominent Americans.

What Santorum did during the Fox/Google debate was get people to start thinking and have conversation about all candidates and not of a candidate’s swagger and cool disposition.

Kudos to Rick Santorum and his campaign staff as well as Fox News for acknowledging the other candidates by letting them present themselves and their ideals. If it weren’t for that, Herman Cain may not won the Florida Straw Poll by a monster margin over Rick Perry and Mitt Romney, nor would Rick Santorum be able to hold his head up high and be pleased with a strong 4th place finish.

(Note: Gov Johnson invited to his first debate finished ahead of Rep Michelle Bachmann, who finished last!)

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