Democrats have seized upon a proposal from the GOP challenger to Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) that bartering with doctors for treatment could help solve the health care crisis.
Sue Lowden, who suggests in a video below that a barter-system could replace health insurance, is now being explicitly mocked by a website called "Chickens For Checkups," Talking Points Memo reported.
Created by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, the site allows readers to send a form letter to Lowden asking how they can find a doctor who would treat ailments such as rickets, "ill humours," "the vapors" and others, in exchange for various types of livestock or even "indentured servitude."
In the video, Lowden refers to "the olden days" when people in need of medical care gave doctors chickens or offered to paint his house in lieu of money.
"Doctors are very sympathetic people," she said. "I'm not backing down from that system."
Democrats fighting to keep Reid in office hope the site will bolster support for the House Majority Leader. Lowden holds a 10-percent lead over Reid, according to a recent poll.
Lowden's statement below is actually the second time she has mentioned bartering for health care. During a speech earlier this month, Lowden was asked for suggestions on what she would have done for health care reform that Democrats did not.
After talking about interstate insurance policies and the legalization of stripped-down "mandate-free" policies, Lowden said this:
"And I would have suggested, and I think that bartering is really good. Those doctors who you pay cash, you can barter, and that would get prices down in a hurry," she said. "And I would say go out, go ahead out and pay cash for whatever your medical needs are, and go ahead and barter with your doctor."
The Lowden campaign reacted quickly to criticism, issuing a statement defending a medical barter system and circulating a document that explains the perks of bargaining with your health care provider.
"Bartering with your doctor is not a new concept. There have been numerous reports as to how negotiating with your doctor is an option and doctors have gone on the record verifying this. Unfortunately, Harry Reid's failed leadership forces us to take drastic measures."
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is less than enthused about the Lowden campaign's attempt to justify a barter system.
"You have got to be kidding me," DSCC spokeswoman Deirdre Murphy said in a statement. "Sue Lowden is completely out of touch with Nevadans if she really thinks bartering chickens for checkups is serious health care reform."