Excerpted from a post by Joe Conason on Creators.com, September 14, 2011:
Watching the Republican presidential candidates and their agitated tea party supporters at the CNN/Tea Party debate, an ordinary citizen might feel confused. Those people sound angry, but exactly what do they believe our government should (and shouldn’t) do on behalf of its citizens?
Ensuring affordable health care for everyone seemed to be on the forbidden list…
It was a revealing moment that may foretell a new and meaner Republican platform: If you lose your job and your health care, don’t expect any help, except perhaps from the church. And if your innocent kids get sick, too bad for them. Forget about Medicare, Medicaid and any American who can’t afford private insurance. This is a free country — so don’t get sick…
Yet during the same debate, Rick Perry, the GOP’s leading contender, justified his program to inoculate young schoolgirls against cervical cancer by explaining that he was putting life first, as always — and then boasted about the millions of state dollars he has spent seeking a cure for cancer. While all the other candidates attacked the Texas governor for his Gardasil vaccination program, what bothered them more than the state funding was the alleged lack of parental consent. In principle, most of them seemed to think that state-funded protection for children against a deadly disease might even be acceptable…
Lack of insurance — and the lack of adequate insurance — present a daily concern for increasing numbers of Americans. According to the Census Bureau, the exact number has reached 49.9 million, the highest number since the advent of Medicare and Medicaid and the highest percentage of uninsured Americans since the recession of 1976.
The consequences are tragic and — although financially costly to American society compared with other advanced countries — go far beyond mere money. Being uninsured means foregoing necessary care, especially preventive care, which annually causes the premature deaths of at least 50,000 people.
The Republicans up on that debate stage and the tea party claque don’t think this is their problem. They don’t care. They must be the only Christians in the world who would cheer wildly at the idea of someone dying from lack of health insurance. And they will nevertheless vote for the Texan who spent millions of state dollars vaccinating those little girls. Is it the fury and the bile that kills brain cells?
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