Jeb’s Heal⁠t⁠h-Care Success

By: The James Madison Institute / 2016



National Review
Jeb's Health-Care Success
By: Adam Levine, Rhonda Medows, and Ruben King-Shaw

One of the most important issues for family voters is health care, and as public servants who led Florida’s health-care system, we take great interest in the stark differences between the candidates.

Governors must advocate for, and implement, agendas in their states. Governors Jeb Bush and John Kasich both zealously pursued health-care policies that had measurable outcomes. However, the contrast between the two governors is stark, and the records are clear.

John Kasich fought for and passed what some have called the largest expansion of federally overseen, government-run, centrally planned health care in Ohio’s history. With his zealous embrace of Obamacare expansion, Governor Kasich added 650,000 people to a price-fixed program without proposing conservative reforms. On this issue, there is no space between Governor Kasich and Senator Bernie Sanders. Both clearly embrace expanding government-planned, government-controlled health care. Taxpayer costs for Governor Kasich’s Obamacare expansion will run more than $14 billion for the first 7 years, and once the “free” federal money is gone (after Governor Kasich is out of office), Ohio taxpayers will be left with more than $5 billion of new costs. When John Kasich says he wants to repeal Obamacare, it is enough to give us whiplash. How do you repeal something you fought to expand?

Jeb Bush was the first governor in the nation to push for, pass, and implement transparency in hospital pricing and quality. Governor Jeb Bush chose a different path. Instead of expanding a broken centrally planned government health-care system, he proposed sweeping conservative changes that were hailed by the Heritage Foundation and the James Madison Institute. He proposed, fought for passage of, and implemented the most aggressive conservative reforms of Florida’s health-care program since its inception in 1965. Both Heritage and James Madison cite Jeb Bush’s health-care reforms for being successful in reducing costs and improving outcomes for Floridians. In fact, the University of Florida has independently validated that Governor Bush’s reforms reduced the costs per beneficiary. And state data shows that more children received access to preventive care, more people with diabetes were provided with evidence-based preventive care, and people with mental illness received better access to services after Bush’s reforms.

Jeb Bush was the first governor in the nation to push for, pass, and implement transparency in hospital pricing and quality. Other states — and even the federal government — followed, although it took them four years to do so. The bottom-line difference between Governors Jeb Bush and John Kasich is that one eschews government intrusion into the marketplace while the other has openly embraced and expanded it.

And Donald Trump? Well, if you like Bernie Sanders, you will loveDonald Trump. Trump advocates for a federally controlled massive expansion of centrally planned health care. Give him credit, though: At least he admits he wants to make the government bigger. While he has not said how he will pay for it, he does agree with President Obama and Bernie Sanders that the federal government should control your health care.

Look past the rhetoric at the records. Conservatives do have good ideas to improve our nation’s health-care system. It is time to bring Americans to the conservative cause by showing them what conservative reforms look like. Just look at the records.