Talk is heating up about the need for a new entrant in the Republican presidential sweepstakes, with not only The Weekly Standard keeping up its long-running and always-thoughtful drumbeat now called the Valentine’s Day Option, but George Will saying as much on Sunday, after Rhodes Cook of the Sabato Crystal Ball explained why it is still definitely feasible.
Here’s the key thing: There is not an elected official in the country who knows health care policy as well as Jindal, and once the Supreme Court decides the Obamacare case, health care will be front and center in the campaign. Why does Jindal know so much about it? First, he was the wunderkind Secretary of the Louisiana health department, where he flat-out saved the state budget from disaster while completely and successfully renovating its Medicaid program (after explaining Medicaid’s rules to the federal Medicaid officials who didn’t even understand them as well as Jindal did). Second, he was executive director of the Breaux-Thomas entitlement commission in the late 1990s that not only pushed the idea of premium support (the heart of Paul Ryan’s Medicare plans), but got several Democratic senators to buy in to the concept. Third, he worked on health care in the private sector, for McKinsey and Company. Also, (from Wikipedia), “as a Rhodes Scholar. He received an M.Litt. degree in political science with an emphasis in health policy from the University of Oxford in 1994 for his thesis “A needs-based approach to health care”.
He also served as the Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
If Republicans want somebody who not only will oppose Obamacare (that’s an easy thing to do), but also to be able to outline a positive alternative and explain it understandably, nobody, not even Paul Ryan, can do it better than Bobby Jindal.