In 2007, Robert Reich, former Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration told an audience at the University of California at Berkeley what an “honest” presidential candidate would say about health care reform.
I will actually give you a speech, made up entirely almost on the spur of the moment, of what a candidate for president would say if that candidate did not care about becoming president. In other words, this is what the truth is…Thank you so much for coming this afternoon. I’m so glad to see you, and I would like to be president.Let me tell you a few things on health care. Look we have the only healthcare system in the world that is designed to avoid sick people. And that’s true. And, what I’m gonna do is, I am going to try to reorganize it to be more amenable to treating sick people.But, that means you, particularly you young people–particularly you young, healthy people–you’re gonna have to pay more.Thank you, and by the way, uh, we’re going to have to, if you are very old, we’re not going to give you all that technology and all those drugs for the last couple of years of your life to keep you maybe going for another couple of months–it’s too expensive–so we’re going to let you die.Also, I’m gonna use the bargaining leverage of the federal government in terms of Medicare/Medicaid –we already have a lot of bargaining leverage–to force drug companies and insurance companies and medical suppliers to reduce their costs, but that means less innovation, and that means less new products and less new drugs on the market, which means you are probably not going to live much longer than your parents. Thank you.