New Hampshire debate’s format was flawed

Herman Cain Contributor
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During the New Hampshire presidential debate last week, a lady named Sylvia asked, “What would the Republicans do about health care if they repealed Obamacare?” Her question never got answered. I even pointed that out to the CNN host, John King, and offered to answer her question, but he never got back to me.

If I could have answered the question, I would have told her about patient-centered and market-driven solutions. Most of these ideas are contained in H.R. 3400, which was introduced in 2009, though virtually no one has heard about it.

I don’t believe in re-inventing the wheel. Nor do I believe in re-inventing good ideas. If I could have answered her question, I would have offered some of the following ideas to replace Obamacare:

  • Individuals choose their health insurance (no mandates)
  • Deductibility of health insurance premiums regardless of who pays
  • Employers provide flexible insurance options to employees
  • Federally subsidized vouchers to help low-income individuals (up to three times the poverty level) buy health insurance
  • Health insurance for high-risk and pre-existing-condition individuals, which could be handled through Medicaid, high-risk insurance pools or other options
  • Sale of health insurance across state lines (more competition!)
  • Increased deductibility amounts for Health Savings Accounts (HSAs)
  • Association Health Insurance Plans
  • Medical lawsuit “loser pay” laws

These ideas would allow individuals to make their own decisions about health care and health insurance rather than a bureaucrat, and they would allow the free-market system to bring down the costs of both. Obamacare does not do that, which is why over 1,300 companies have asked for and received waivers from the law.

It may shock the liberals out there in la-la land, but if Obamacare would have saved those businesses money, they would have implemented it in a heartbeat. It won’t!

Answering Sylvia’s question probably would have answered the same question that millions of Americans were asking. But I could not squeeze the answer in during the presidential sound-bite derby.

The health care question was not the only question that did not get answered during the presidential debate that night, because the format for questions and answers left a lot to be desired. Nevertheless, I will be right back in there slugging it out at the next debate.

Next time, I hope we get a genuine chance to express our respective points of view on the big issues. That way, viewers will be able to learn something and discover the differences that distinguish the candidates from each another.

John King’s last question to all of us was a good and unexpected one: “What did we learn from the debate tonight?” I learned that the field of candidates seeking the Republican nomination for president is not a weak field, as some people have tried to convince the public.

When six of the seven candidates on the stage that night hold or have held a major public office, along with one problem-solving businessman, most people do not consider that a weak field. With six of the participants having been a speaker of the House, senator, governor or representative, that’s not a weak field. And I was just happy to be there as Mr. Cain.

Maybe that’s why I wanted to answer the questions.

Herman Cain, the former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza, is a Republican candidate for president.