You could say the Housleys’ rarified life precludes certain concerns of the little people – like getting sick, going broke, and living on baked beans under a train bridge.
Until last week, her health care policy for her U.S. Senate bid consisted of a single paragraph of thoughtful-sounding nothingness: Kill Obamacare. Replace it with a “market-driven” system. Feel free to fill in your own details.
It was a strange, drive-by approach to voters’ No. 1 issue. Though some polls show Republicans as seeing Scary New Brown People as their top fear, Minnesotans – and Americans in general – consistently list health care as their primary worry.
Housley might have also noticed that by slaying Obamacare, she would also be saying that voters can no longer have nice things, like protection for pre-existing conditions. If you have lupus, or multiple sclerosis, or any other marauding illness, it’s the one law keeping insurers from feasting on you like a Chinese buffet.
As for her superior “market” system? Housley was apparently referring to the one run by unicorns and Disney princesses, not the one that jacked the price of your insulin by 290 percent. And she certainly couldn’t be referring to her fellow Republicans’ “market” plan, which allowed states to let the sick be charged larcenous rates for insurance -- "if they could purchase it at all," assessed the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office.
But after traversing Minnesota for the last year, Housley belatedly discovered something no one could have foreseen: We kind of like health care. And, weirdly enough, we’d prefer that insurance and pharmaceutical companies didn’t gnaw on our paychecks like a fat man at Golden Corral.
This week, she released a new ad revealing her discovery. It offered a scattered grab-bag of themes. She first accused her opponent, Tina Smith, of not protecting women from Keith Ellison – He’s brown! And Muslim! – or saving the elderly from nursing home abuse. (Smith, of course, has no jurisdiction over Ellison’s bedroom, nor is she involved in nursing home investigations. But let's not quibble.)
Housley then pivoted to her own vows of valor. She would “protect seniors!” “Secure our borders!” “Ensure coverage of our pre-existing conditions!”
A scant week before the election, she’s finally unveiled a full-fledged health plan. It’s once again short on specifics, but it does contain a full eight paragraphs of platitudes, an 800 percent hike over her previous plan.
Main takeaways: Karin Housley spent an hour last night cribbing lines from a GOP slogan generator. Her epiphany is loaded with economic contradictions, some parts sabotaging others. You get the feeling she doesn't have the vaguest idea of how an insurance pool works. But if you send her to Washington, be assured she’s mastered the finest in authentic-sounding rhetoric.
So if your daughter has bone marrow cancer, or your husband has leukemia, vote Karin Housley. She has slogans for all that ails you.