The scandal rocking the Veterans Health Administration should serve as a warning as to what can happen under the Affordable Care Act, renowned economist and syndicated columnist Larry Kudlow says.
This is not simply a management problem," Kudlow, author of the CNBC blog "Kudlow's Corner,'' told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.
"This is about a pocket of government-run socialized medicine with rationing and price controls and the usual bureaucratic inefficiencies. That's the problem with the VA.''
The VA is under fire for allegedly keeping chronically-ill patients on a secret-waiting list — resulting in the deaths of at least 40 veterans. Additionally, there are allegations of false record-keeping to cover up the scandal.
"It is not a money problem. The money going to the VA has exploded in recent years. In fact, from 2000 to 2013, budget outlays tripled while the veterans' population being served has actually declined by four million,'' Kudlow said.
"There's a problem with government-run healthcare and [this] should be a lesson to all of us about the dangers of Obamacare and single-payer insurance and so forth and so on."
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Kudlow also called on Republicans to back a "sensible'' immigration reform bill or risk losses at the polls.
"Sensible immigration reform will really be pro-growth. It can really help America and can really help the Republican Party put a different face on and reach out not just to Latinos,'' Kudlow said.
"This is symbolic, immigration reform — symbolic reaching out to Asians, to African-Americans, to young people, to women, and it says the Republican Party can in fact be a big tent.
"Its policies don't have to echo the Democrats, but there's a reach-out factor here that I think is very, very important.''
Kudlow said that doesn't mean unbridled citizenship or blanket amnesty.
"What I am talking about is … the possibility of legal status so long as the immigrants who are living here illegally pay their back taxes, are checked for any criminal offense because criminals must be deported … learn English, learn civics, learn history, learn the constitution," he said.
"They have to go through a process and I think that's very, very important. I don't want them put at the front of the line for citizenship. I'm not really even talking about citizenship right now. I'm talking about legal status.
"[Sen.] Rand Paul [of Texas] has come out for legal status in a similar way, so has [Texas] Gov. Rick Perry, so has former [Florida] Gov. Jeb Bush. I like the direction here.''
Kudlow said it is also important to attract immigrant "brainiacs" as well as students and blue-collar workers.
"We need the high-tech electric engineers, all the Silicon Valley people. We need the foreign students we're educating. Why should we send them home? Why not keep them here?" he said.
"We need the low-end workers. That's what the Farmers Association and the Retailers Association are telling us. In other words, we need legal immigration.
"We need legal visa increases. If we do that, the more population will expand and increase economic growth. It's real simple. Population times productivity equals growth.''
Kudlow pointed to the low number of immigrants who supported Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney in 2012.
"Twenty-seven percent of Asians voted for Mitt Romney, 27 percent of Hispanics voted for Mitt Romney. The GOP cannot win with those kinds of numbers," he said.
"If the party has a sensible policy and puts its best foot forward with the kind of principles that I'm encouraging here, it will make an impact.
"I am a conservative Catholic and all that goes with that, but I am willing to work in the same big tent as my friends from the Log Cabin Republicans. I believe that kind of attitude, which is an open inclusionary attitude, is missing from the GOP and must change.''
With that, the negative perception of the GOP will change, he believes.
"Right now, the GOP has a bad image. It’s an image of cranky white men and women. That image has to change,'' Kudlow said.
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