Nevada GOP: The Left Can’t Argue With Sue Lowden’s Point About Barter

April 22, 2010 10:15 a.m.

The Nevada Republican Party is standing by Senate candidate Sue Lowden’s suggestion that people use barter in order to lower health care costs. Instead of focusing on Lowden’s specific example of a chicken, which Democrats have pounced on, the GOP suggests looking at Lowden’s overall message of moving away from insurance and then negotiating with cash.

Although the party is officially neutral in the primary between Lowden, former UNLV basketball player Danny Tarkanian and former state Rep. Sharron Angle, Nevada GOP communications director Ciara Turns nevertheless offered a vigorous defense of Lowden’s statements, and condemned the Democrats for the way that Lowden is being attacked.

“Well it’s pretty clear that they’re attacking the way she conveyed her message because they can’t attack her message,” said Turns. “Her message is pretty clear. She was clearly trying to make the point that if we moved away from an insurance-based system and more people started paying cash for their health care, then prices would come down. But they don’t want to address that. The left doesn’t, Harry Reid’s campaign doesn’t want to address that, because it’s a legitimate point that they can’t argue. And so they’ve decided to go after the way she delivered her message instead of the substance of it.”I then read back one of Lowden’s direct quotes to Turns: “Let’s change the system and talk about what the possibilities are. I’m telling you that this works. You know, before we all started having health care, in the olden days, our grandparents, they would bring a chicken to the doctor. They would say I’ll paint your house.”

“I think what she is trying to say is that people would negotiate with their doctors,” Turns responded. “And that is still something that people do to this day. Not just in the health care profession, but many professionals when they offer one kind of service, will trade one service for another with another professional. So the idea that you do this for me and I’ll do this for you is not unique. It still happens, and I think that is a legitimate point she made.

“But if the Democratic Party wants to focus on the fact that she suggested a chicken, our position is that all the chickens and all the goats in the world won’t change the fact that 62% of Nevadans think it would be a good idea of President Obama’s health care legislation was repealed.”

So is Turns suggesting that barter is a workable system, I asked?

“We see negotiation as something workable. And not — by no means is it meant to be a solution to the challenges we face in this country with regards to the health care system. But it’s one aspect, one of many ways that people can rethink the way that health care is paid for,” said Turns. “The system she was trying to convey, and I think works, is moving away from an insurance-based system and more people paying cash, and that is a viable system that has been proven to work. And again, the left cannot address the fact that it is a viable system, and has been proven to work, so they are attacking the way she delivered her message.”

Turns added: “So they can make this about chickens and about goats, and using one word instead of another word – maybe she should have said ‘negotiation’ instead of ‘barter.’ But it is not going to change the fact that Harry Reid and the legislation that he supports and had passed in Washington does not resonate with the voters of Nevada. And they will tell him so this November.”

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