01 October 2009

Brouhaha over Rep. Grayson saying Repub Health Plan is "Die Quickly"

Reliable statistics now show that 45,000 Americans die each year from treatable illness or injury because they can't afford health care or health insurance. It's a simple fact that by far the majority of Republicans in Congress are either living up to their moniker of the "Party of No" by supporting nothing in the way of health care reform other than trying to delay and ultimately kill any efforts from the other side of the aisle to accomplish anything. There are NO serious Republican health care reform initiatives on the agenda. Ergo, Rep. Alan Grayson's using hyperbole to make a point by saying the Republican health care plan is "1. Don't get sick, 2. And if you do get sick... 3. Die Quickly"... was maybe a bit rude, but actually pretty much true.

Should he have apologized? I have to say I can't really see what he should have apologized for. What he said was not nice, but it wasn't inaccurate. Whereas Sen. Grassley saying the Obama plan would allow the government to "pull the plug on Grandma" was inaccurate. Ex-Gov. (and unemployed blogger) Sarah Palin saying the health plans advocated by Democrats would force her to justify treatment for her Downs' syndrome child was inaccurate. In fact, both statements are entirely baseless and ridiculous. I'm frankly quite sure both these lovely people knew perfectly well that what they were saying was not factual. Most of the pending health reform proposals allow for funding of end-of-life counseling, just as almost all private health insurance does. So it's a total non-issue, except as despicable propaganda.

Video here.

The fact is, this number of preventable deaths (45,000) is by far the worst of any developed country. Moreover, when T. R. Reid (The Healing of America) asked health ministers in England, France, Germany, Denmark, and Japan how many health-care related bankruptcies occurred in their countries each year, as he put it, they all looked at him liked he'd just asked them how many alien spacecraft had landed on top of their building in the past week, because the answer (the same for every single advanced nation other than USA, without exception)... is zero. In the US, it's 700,000. No other advanced country allows its citizens to lose everything because they can't afford to go to the doctor but can't go without health care. If that doesn't bother you just a bit, I really don't know what to say to you. I love my country and want the best for it, but that is not something we can be proud of; quite the contrary.

UPDATE:  (10/12) In retrospect, I don't even think what Grayson said about Republicans was even rude. As he later said, the American people don't care about their feelings. And, in any case, what he said was essentially true, so how is that rude? If you can't stand plain talk, get the hell out of the way. When you try to compare what he said with the duplicity and conniving of Republicans to deny the up to 20% of Americans who are without health insurance their right to health care, there is no comparison. 

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