Saturday, March 7, 2009

Republicans: Health Care A "Privilege" And A "Want"–Not A "Right" And A "Need"

Representative Zach Wamp of Tennessee and former Bush chief of staff Andrew Card recently confirmed that when it comes to health care, the Republicans just don't get it.

In an interview, Wamp offered MSNBC's Tamron Hall the usual fear-mongering rhetoric regarding President Obama's commitment to cover all Americans. Wamp stated that we're on a "fast march to socialism...almost class warfare...we better step up and defend our system or else it's going to go away." Look what happened to Canada, folks. Why, you're no longer allowed to start a business up there, right?

Hall stated that 46 million Americans have no health care and 1.5 million will lose their homes due to health care expenses. She asked what the Republican plan was to expand health care. Wamp offered the GOP bromide regarding tax incentives for those who buy their insurance. That means nothing, of course, to the many who've lost their jobs in this economy. But let's suppose that through these incentives, one saves a few hundred or even a few thousand dollars. Will that help when an individual or family member is confronted with a catastrophic medical situation requiring extended hospitalization?

Hall was astounded when Wamp asserted that health care was a "privilege." When asked if that applied to those suffering from cancer, Wamp gave a muddled response, stating, "..for some people, it’s a right, but for everyone, frankly, it’s not necessarily a right." When pressed to specify those who do not have a right, Wamp referred to those who reject employee-covered health care–and made the astounding and completely unattributed statement, "Half the people that are uninsured today choose to remain uninsured." Did you get that? According to Wamp, one out of every two uninsured individuals in America today are intentionally turning down health care for themselves and their families. Watch:

Meanwhile, instead of using the term "privilege," Andrew Card uses "want." The difference is merely semantical. According to Card, "...we have got a huge crisis in our economy, and I think we have got to solve that problem first. This is not about wants. It’s about needs." Card is not only wrong when he states that health care is not a "need," but he's also unaware of the impact of rising health care costs on the "huge crisis in our economy." Is it any wonder that he was the chief of staff in the Bush administration? Judge for yourself whether the Obama administration should also heed his advice:

"Headzup" is right on target regarding Card's obliviousness to what people "need":

The Wamp interview starts with an interesting statistic. Asked in a Quinnipiac poll whether President Obama can reform health care and reduce costs, 55% said "yes" and 39% "no." In addition, a recent CNN poll states that, contrary to the views of Wamp and Card, the American people overwhelmingly want more government involvement in health care:

"As President Barack Obama hosts a Thursday summit at the White House on health care reform, recent national polling suggests that nearly three out of four Americans support government programs to improve the country's health care system.

"Seventy-two percent of those questioned in recent CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey say they favor increasing the federal government's influence over the country's health care system in an attempt to lower costs and provide health care coverage to more Americans, with 27 percent opposing such a move. Other recent polls show six in 10 think the government should provide health insurance or take responsibility for providing health care to all Americans."

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