Wow. The woman who made headlines for claiming her use of “great white hope” wasn’t racial has decided to open her piehole and do something equally offensive in the debate on health care reform. Topeka’s U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-KS) apparently has no empathy for someone without health insurance, even when they are standing before her in a public forum. She can’t even FAKE it, even when the cameras are trained on her. What does this say about the GOP’s opposition tactics? Buh bye, compassionate conservatism. It’s kick-your-lazy-ass-blame-the-victim wingnuttery.
So many people are working and either can’t afford insurance or qualify for programs designed to fill in some of the blanks. Such is the case for Elizabeth Smith, a 27-year-old Ottawa, KS waitress who has a 2 1/2-year-old son who has not been able to see a doctor in nearly 2 years. The only access has been through the ER, which as we know, is the most expensive way to deliver care. Look at this exchange:
Elizabeth Smith: I’m a 27 year-old single mother. I work full-time. I do not have health insurance. My employer does not provide health insurance to me and I cannot afford it privately. Why shouldn’t my government guarantee all of its citizens health care?
Jenkins: Thank you. I’m sorry, maybe you missed my opening remarks, but absolutely. That’s why we have Medicaid in the current system and that’s why under the alternative proposal we have an option for low-to-modest-income people to be able to afford health care and then we’ve got the SCHIP program for children. I think we’ve got all of the bases covered.
Audience member: She’s not covered under SCHIP!
Jenkins: OK, if you’re not then you’re the perfect example for why we need reform and why we need it now but we have to do it right and if we can do an alternative proposal, as I’m suggesting, give you the money to go buy it in a reformed marketplace where it is affordable, that’s my preference rather than to saddle the nation with yet another government program when they can’t afford the government run programs we have.
Elizabeth Smith: I want an option that I can pay for. I work. I pay my bills. I’m not a burden on the state. I pay my taxes. So why can’t I get an affordable option. Why are you against that?
Jenkins: A government run program (laugh) is going to subsidize not only yours (laugh) but everybody in this room. So I’m not sure what we’re talking about here.
Jenkins: I think it comes down to the whole discussion of…
(The crowd erupts. At this point, it’s safe to say even they aren’t buying Jenkins position…)
Lynn: OK folks. Let’s be respectful. UH-OH (talking over crowd). We’re gonna make time for everybody. We’re gonna all listen to each other respectfully, even if we disagree. I think we can agree we need reforms, again it’s just how we gonna do it. I believe people should be given the opportunity to take care of themselves with an advancebale tax credit to go be a grown-up and go buy the insurance.
Jesus H. Christ. She’s not bothering to listen to the personal story. If Smith asks her why can’t there be health care for all, where’s an answer from Jenkins that actually provides a workable alternative? “Give you the money to go buy it in a reformed marketplace where it is affordable” — WTF kind of generic non-answer is that? Oh that’s right, she doesn’t really have any answers, just vague smokescreens. Excellent.
What’s pathetic is that with the horrid performance of so many GOP pols out there at these town halls the spineless Dems and the White House STILL can’t get their sh*t together on this and counter the lies and reality-free, compassionless behavior by elected officials like Jenkins.