By JONATHAN ZWEYGARDT
While the United States continues to face one of the slowest economic recoveries in the nation’s history, Republican strategist Karl Rove said Wednesday he believes Americans will find a way to get it turned around.
Rove’s appearance Wednesday night was the second installment of the Keith Sebelius Lecture Series at Fort Hays State University. It was originally scheduled for February but was canceled due to a winter storm.
Rove opened the night joking he was able to make it to Hays the first time — but no one showed up.
He called for an open debate on health care, saying the nation cannot go back to the way things used to be “nor do we want to.”
Rove said while the Obama administration celebrates reaching its goal of 7 million people signed up for health care under the Affordable Care Act, there are still a number of questions surrounding that number.
One of the issues Rove brought up was the number of people who have paid for the coverage. He said there a number of those who have not and will not pay the premiums. Rove also questioned how many people who signed up had insurance that was cut due to the new health care law. He said there also will be a number of people who lose their health plan after extensions delaying implementation expire.
Rove predicted premiums will be on the rise because there have not been enough young people sign up under the law to balance costs for the number of older Americans who have signed up.
Rove also questioned the number of people who actually signed up under the Medicare expansion, because most states did not differentiate between those who signed up for the first time and those who renewed coverage — a figure he said federal officials will not release.
Rove presented some of his ideas to help cut healthcare costs in the county:
• Make health care portable: Allowing people to take their coverage from job to job.
• Allow the sale of coverage across state lines.
• Allow small businesses can combine their risk pools.
• Allow people to save more tax-free for healthcare — he said the ACA allows for less.
• Require more transparency in prices at hospitals.
• Pass nationwide liability reform.
Rove also spent time discussing rising debt and the need to cut government spending.
During the question-and-answer portion of the forum, Rove was asked about immigration, one issue on which Rove said he doesn’t see eye-to-eye on with the Republican Party. Rove said reform needs to be comprehensive.
According to Rove, the borders need to be secured and legal immigration should be easier — and those who are already here illegally should want to become citizens.
He said the nation should not be educating students from other countries only to allow them to go back to their home countries and compete against America. It should, according to Rove, be easier for those students to get jobs, become Americans themselves and join the “American Dream.”
Rove also spent time talking about his first-hand experience of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001.