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).Okaaaay.
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):