Thursday, March 05, 2009

Republican Wamp (wamp, wamp?) thinks healthcare is a privilege!

President Obama continues with his ambitious agenda, today's healthcare reform summit. Wish I could have made it there (although Ezra Klein's highlights are probably the next best thing), as there seems to have been a reasonable representation of the public. However, it doesn't appear that there are any commentators on health care from countries such as Switzerland, Germany, Japan, France, or any other industrialized country invited to attend. That's kind of a shame, because it's always good to consider a variety of options on this potentially complicated issue.

In any case, one reason (which even progressive folk seem scared to voice outright) that universal healthcare systems offer reasonable quality healthcare at lower cost than ours is that covering everyone is cheaper than only covering some people. Unfortunately, our current healthcare "system" is built on the opposite assumption, voiced by Republican congressman Wamp of Tennessee, who stated on MSNBC that healthcare is a privilege. Unbelievable.

More offensively, Wamp kept mentioning that half of the people without health insurance "choose" not to have it. Where does he get that figure from? I presume that these people are choosing to eat and have the heat on instead of paying medical insurance premiums or medical bills. Even if it were true that half of the uninsured are voluntarily doing without coverage, the other half is not, and half of 45 million is over 22.5 million people, a frighteningly large figure in itself. Not that he seems overly concerned about that fact.

Like other Republicans, he'd like to fiddle with the tax code to provide incentives for health insurance. Lame. Ineffective. Obstructionist. The Republican way.

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