Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) told NBC's David Gregory that the war in Afghanistan is a "necessity" but health care reform is not as important.
"And is it a necessity to tackle the fact that there are more and more Americans who die because they don't have access to health insurance?" asked Gregory.
Kyl disagreed with the premise of the question. "I'm not sure that it's a fact that more and more people die because they don't have health insurance. But because they don't have health insurance, the care is not delivered in the best and most efficient way," said Kyl.
I imagine Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) -- of "Republicans want you to die quickly" fame -- might have a field day with this one.
And for the record, a highly-publicized Harvard study released last month said that 45,000 deaths are linked to lack of health insurance coverage each year -- and that uninsured, working-age Americans have a 40 percent higher death risk than their privately-insured counterparts.
This video is from NBC's Meet the Press, broadcast Oct. 18, 2009.