Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Eric Cantor Says Cancer Patient Should Get Help From "Government Program" or "Charity"

Republican Eric Cantor's response to a constituent's question regarding health insurance exposes the hypocrisy and absolute lack of knowledge among many opponents of proposed healthcare reforms. Think Progress uncovered the story.

A woman attending a town hall meeting told Cantor that a family member who has cancer and needed surgery recently lost her job and health insurance. Cantor's response is unbelievable, sad and funny:
First of all I guess I would ask what the situation is in terms of income eligibility and the existing programs that are out there. Because if we look at the uninsured that are out there right now, there is probably 23, 24% of the uninsured that is already eligible for an existing government program. . .Beyond that, I know that there are programs, there are charitable organizations, there are hospitals here who do provide charity care if there’s an instance of indigency and the individual is not eligible for existing programs that there can be some cooperative effort. No one in this country, given who we are, should be sitting without an option to be addressed (ellipses in original).

First, I will give Cantor credit for mentioning that there are "government programs" -- like Medicaid -- that cover the medical expenses of poor people. Medicaid, however, is a public plan, which Republicans equate with socialism, Nazism and totalitarianism. Also, because the woman lost her job only recently, it is unclear (perhaps unlikely) that she qualifies for Medicaid. Furthermore, since she needs surgery immediately, it is unclear, even if she qualifies for Medicaid, whether her application could be processed in time.

Finally, the notion that people can simply rely upon charitable assistance for medical expenses is laughable. According to Cantor's "logic," a lack of information about "existing" governmental and charitable programs is the only barrier to affordable medical services -- including extremely costly oncological surgery. This argument is so unbounded from reality that it does not even merit engaged analysis. I would love to see Cantor post some information about "free" cancer surgeries on his website.

Here's the Youtube footage, which includes an interview with the constituent (conducted by Think Progress):


Sue said...

repugs have no common decency, empathy, sympathy, they just don't give a F**k about the American people who struggle and suffer! Pathetic!

Anonymous said...

Illogical and abominable. Another expression of compassionate conservatism, or, as Marcia Angell puts it, the Republicans' clueless disregard for people not shrewd enough to be rich.

FLRN said...

Darren - what else can you say here except Mr. Cantor just has "no frame of reference?" What about the other 76% of the population without insurance who do not qualify for Medicare or Medicare disability?

Without question, we have this process backward. What is left to debate? - our healthcare system is broken and indigent and middle class Americans CAN NOT afford decent healthcare because our system is overpriced, overburden and too many people get a slice of the health care dollar.

A new medically complex patient will spend about the price of a car payment $200-300 dollars just to introduce herself to a surgeon in the office setting. Oncology care and surgical intervention care plans for catastrophic illness overall cost out at about the price of a home --to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars over the life of the care event. The average hospital day costs about $1400 per day - the cost of a mortgage payment. This is before any reputable treatment, surgery or diagnostics are even ordered.

What are we doing even protesting that there is a better way than public reform? Even for insured middle class families - co-pays and percentages that can total between $30 to hundreds of dollars -the burden of paying for insurance already competes against daily expenses like the cost of paying for housing and feeding a family.

I challenge Mr. Cantor to spend one day in an ER waiting room and visit with the families and the patients, perhaps audit their finances, and then I'd like him to dig deeper consider a real solution - one that deals with reality. Or no wait - perhaps Catholic charities could fund a bake sale or hold a food drive in the lobby to pay for the uninsured ER visits? Of course even generating thousands of dollars in cupcake sales - charity donations would be hard pressed to bridge the costs associated with the accounts receivables generated in a single day of a tertiary facility in a metropolitan community ER in your own home town!

Tony said...

She never said "cancer" or "dying." Just sayin'

Darren Lenard Hutchinson said...

Tony: You're right. She said tumors in the belly. The analysis is the same either way - the surgery is needed immediately.

FLRN: Returns with passion. I love the post!

Elizabeth: I live that!

Sue: I suspect that some Republicans favor reform, but will vote with "the Party." Outside of Congress, I know Republicans who support reform - but of course, they are in the minority.

liberal dissent said...

The Republicans know perfectly well that once entitlement programs are implemented, they become popular. If a public health option went through, the same politicians screaming about it now will be promising to defend it in 20 years.

TomCat said...

The GOP also has a plan for the unemployed. If you don't have a job they'll find you one, if you submit a request on your company letterhead.

Darren Lenard Hutchinson said...

Tomcat: keep the government out of my medicare!

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