On Civil Discourse and Being Open Minded

I’ve always considered myself rather open-minded in terms of political beliefs. Not to say I flip-flop, but in the words of President Obama, I can “evolve” on certain issues.

I was what I thought was a Democrat back in the 06/08 days when they really appealed to the people in the middle – they were moderate and Blue Dog Democrats were all over the place. I would have easily been a Republican during 00/02/04 when there were a lot of liberal Republicans, especially in the Northeast. RINO was not a bad word until 2006/2008.

I’ve evolved in a lot of issues – fiscal issues such as taxes, social issues such as gay marriage – and I found myself listening to an argument being made to me over the weekend about healthcare. In my mind, it’s a state by state decision – things like Romneycare and TennCare are good for their individual states because the voters had a direct say in it being instituted. I’m a fan of government referendums – let the voters decide.

But, this was the question posed to me: if we institute universal healthcare on a state-by-state basis, (1) what is to stop someone from moving from a state without to a state with universal healthcare, using up the services for as long as it takes for them to get better, and leaving; and (2), how do you ask states to take on the burden of these decisions?

(1) I’m sick. I live in Texas, so I pack up and move to Tennessee. I get a job, get a house, and start using the TennCare services. Six months later, I’m all better, so I move back to Texas. What did I accomplish? I didn’t even pay enough in taxes to my state to justify using the services, but more than likely, I got the full coverage of services.

This messes up a lot of stuff. People go in and pay, say, $1,500 in state taxes for $5,000 worth of service.

(2) Texas decides to institute universal healthcare by a vote of the people. How do we pay for this? Texas has no income tax. We pay sales tax and sales tax funds our state government. Do we now have to vote on and approve a state income tax to fund our state healthcare? But wait, the Texas Constitution would have to be changed. Boy is this messy.

Maybe universal healthcare isn’t so bad, but, the process by which it is brought up, debated, legislated, and passed needs to be done better.

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