Conservatism Lacks Compassion

When George W. Bush ran for president in 2000, I was attracted to his candidacy because he described himself as a “compassionate conservative.” Most Americans agree, at least in general, with the conservative principles of free markets and that the government should not be wasteful, and most Americans are compassionate in that they do not want others to do without food or medical care.

The problem with the current conservative movement is its lack of compassion. A prime example of this lack of concern for the public good is Texas Governor Rick Perry’s opposition to setting up an insurance exchange that would benefit many people here in Texas.

Yahoo News reported:
But when Republican state Rep. John Zerwas tried to move legislation to set up an insurance purchasing pool required by the national overhaul, he ran into a veto threat from Perry.

The purchasing pools — called exchanges — are one of the key features of Obama's law. Close to 4 million Texans stand to gain coverage under the law, nearly half of them through exchanges.

Run by the states, exchanges would let consumers buy coverage from a choice of private plans. Most individuals and families participating would be eligible for federal tax credits to lower their premiums.

Exchanges are supposed to open in 2014. If a state doesn't act in advance, the law authorizes the federal government to set up and run its exchange. And since the Texas legislature meets only every other year, this past session was seen as perhaps the state's only opportunity.

But Zerwas said Perry told him he was concerned that moving ahead with the exchange legislation would undermine a multistate lawsuit against the federal overhaul that Texas is part of, not to mention creating other political problems. The lawsuit challenges the constitutionality of the law's requirement that Americans obtain health insurance — the so-called individual mandate — an issue on which lower courts have split. …

"The position (Perry) was taking veers into some political considerations," said Zerwas. "He felt it would not ring well with some of the constituents and grassroots out there, and frankly, he was concerned it could potentially weaken the arguments in the lawsuit." (

 I’m not sure whether Perry’s opposition to the Affordable Care Act is truly ideological or merely political, but a compassionate person would value people’s health more than either of those concerns.

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