Second of two parts
More than 25 years ago, a little-known college president was running what looked like a hopeless U.S. Senate race in Pennsylvania.
He was Harris Wofford, a Democrat. He was running against Richard Thornburgh, a former Governor and United States Attorney General.
Wofford’s own polls showed him 40 points behind. Thornburgh had way more money – and way more name recognition.
But Wofford had a good campaign team, including the not-yet-famous James Carville, Paul Begala and Mike Donilon.
They had an idea. They had an issue they thought might work. They tested the idea in a poll. The poll told the voters that Wofford wanted to enact national health insurance.
That one fact flipped the poll. Hearing it, voters in the poll supported Wofford by a 10-point margin.
National health insurance become the sole focus of Wofford’s campaign. He took up a line he heard from a voter: “If every criminal has a right to see a lawyer, then every American should have a right to see a doctor.”
Wofford went on to win the election with 55 percent of the vote.
You can read more about the campaign here. And Democrats should study it. Because, sometimes, history does repeat itself.
Today, Americans are more economically pressed than ever. Insurance is more expensive than ever. Health care, doctors’ visits and medicine are more expensive than ever.
Greed, like a cancer, permeates the health care system. Greedy insurance companies, greedy pharmaceutical companies and, yes, some greedy doctors and hospitals.
National health insurance would give the federal government the power to root out the greed, squeeze out the waste and negotiate better prices for consumers.
Republicans, of course, don’t want that. They love the free market.
But there’s no free market in health care. You have no choice and no freedom when it comes to buying health care. You have to pay whatever they say. Because your and your loved ones’ health and, yes, your lives are at stake.
Democrats should take up this fight. They should admit there’s a problem with Obamacare: It doesn’t cover enough people. While Republicans believe it covers too many people.
Ultimately, Republicans believe Americans should get only as much health care as they and their families can afford. No more.
Let’s take that fight to the people.