On the campaign trail in Arizona yesterday, Jeb Bush tried to pivot from his woeful Iraq confusion to replacing the Affordable Care Act … with his wrist watch.
In Tempe, the Republican presidential hopeful told an audience that he wants to “repeal Obamacare” and replace it with some kind of “consumer-driven” system – a popular phrase among GOP politicians, which no doubt polled well in focus groups. Bush then explained his vision for his new Apple Watch fits into his health care vision:
“On this device in five years will be applications that will allow me to manage my health care in ways that five years ago were not even possible. I’ll have the ability, someone will, you know, because of my blood sugar, there’ll be a wireless, there’ll be, someone will send me a signal. It’ll come here, I’ll get a double beep saying, ‘You just ate a butterscotch sundae’ or something like that. ‘You went way over the top. You’re a diabetic, you can’t do that,’ whatever.“We’ll be able to guide our own health care decisions in a way that will make us healthy. And ultimately, we have to get to a health system, away from a disease system.”
[Update: msnbc’s facebook page posted the video of the former governor’s comments.]
If you’ve heard the rumor about Jeb Bush being a nerdy policy wonk, far more interested in substantive details than most in his party, you clearly heard wrong. His wonky reputation is belied by everything the former governor actually says on most subjects, including this one.
In fairness, Bush didn’t explicitly say that his Apple Watch could replace health insurance altogether, but he certainly seemed to take some steps in that direction. He talked about repealing the Affordable Care Act, and giving consumers more control over their health care choices. To bolster the point, in his next breath, the Republican candidate specifically pointed to his watch as proof of how people can “guide” their own health care decisions.
This is deeply odd, even by the low standards of the GOP presidential race.
Look, I can appreciate the appeal of wearable tech, but sometimes, people need medical professionals for care. If someone slips on the ice and hurts their leg, I’m sure a smart watch can tell that person all kinds of fascinating information, but eventually, the watch should also say, “You need medical attention.”
And when that person goes to the hospital, he or she will need some health coverage to afford the visit.
Sure, an Apple Watch – or one of its related competitors – can help people manage their diet and exercise routine, but at a certain point, Americans need health security. If they get sick, technology may be able to help manage the effects of a chronic ailment like diabetes, but it’s even more important that they have access to quality, affordable medical care.
The Affordable Care Act offers families that coverage. Jeb Bush wants to destroy that system and replace it with … well, we don’t know exactly, but it apparently has something to do with an expensive wrist gadget.
If you get cancer, you may need chemotherapy, not a new watch. If you have heart disease, don’t go the Apple Store, go to a cardiologist.
And if you need health security, what you need is reliable coverage that can’t be taken away, not strange advice from Jeb Bush.