Friday, July 24, 2009

Republican Criticism Grows Louder

Remember when Texas governor Rick Perry threatened secession from the United States in April? You know, back when he was railing against the $555 million his state was set to receive from the stimulus package?

Well, Perry is at it again; the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported on Thursday that Perry floated the possibility of resisting a health care reform bill -- should one eventually make its way through Congress and be signed into law. Perry would be well within his rights to do so, thanks to protections offered to the states by the 10th Amendment of the Constitution.

While Perry has joined a growing chorus of right-wing opposition to health care form -- more on that in a bit -- his stance does come with some political risk. Perry will face a tough gubernatorial primary race against U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson in 2010. Perhaps of greater concern, though, is the fact that roughly 5 million Texans have no health insurance. One out of every four Texans are uninsured, the highest rate in the country.

While it's obvious Perry disagrees with Obama's health care ambitions -- derisively calling it "Obama Care" -- for him to turn away reform while his state faces the brunt of the country's health care issues is ... shall we say risky.

Other Republicans spoke out in opposition
to health care on Friday, including several female members of the House of Representatives. Minnesota Rep. Michelle Bachmann, who earlier in the week railed against a public option because it would be 30 to 40 percent cheaper (and thus inadvertently making the case for the public option), wondered why anyone would want health care reform when it would just increase wait times to see doctors and raise the "hassle factor."

Bachmann claims to have five biological children and 23 via adoption. In her mind, health care reform would make it harder for her to get health care for her children in a timely fashion -- completely ignoring that her children are covered under her solid, taxpayer-funded public health plan.

Simply put, health care reform would inconvenience her, so we should just not do it. This from the same Congresswoman who railed against the 2010 Census Report because she was convinced it was a conspiracy from ACORN.

Republican Judy Biggert, from Illinois, also hammered the wait issue, saying, "I think most all of us here have had the opportunity to take our kids to a fast-food restaurant. We want to get a good dinner, and you walk in and there's 50 people there and it seems like everybody in line wants to buy food for their soccer team or whatever. The American people aren't particularly good at standing in line, but that's exactly what's going to happen if this health care plan goes through."

Little tip, Rep. Biggert? When talking about health care, fast food isn't the best analogy to make ...

But wait! There's more! North Carolina Republican Rep. Virginia Foxx took a page out of the George W. Bush playbook, saying that the President was wrong in claiming there are 47 million Americans without health care.

“There are no Americans who don’t have healthcare. Everybody in this country has access to healthcare,” she said. “We do have about 7.5 million Americans who want to purchase health insurance who can not afford it."

Foxx's solution? Much like the one posited by Bush when he made the same statement in July 2007, she thinks all the uninsured should just go to the emergency room.

Memo to Rep. Foxx: you can't get chemotherapy at the emergency room. Nor can you have bypass or open-heart surgery.

Just think, we're still a week away from the August Congressional recess. That means we're probably going to have a month of Republicans and insurance companies feeding us these silly stories and astonding half-truths. If it seems the GOP is increasingly out of touch with the plight of the average American ... well, you're not wrong in that assessment.

I can only hope enough of the country can see this foolishness for what it is. There's opposing bills as they stand and offering to debate different amendments and ideas -- and then there's stuff like this. I'll be the first to admit that one of the bills being considered in the House -- HR 3200 -- is weak, but what the GOP is doing is just absurd.

And we have a month of this to look forward to. Yaaaaay ...

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