Lifes Worth Knowing

Dear Rick Santorum

In Current events, David Gregory, Health Insurance, Justin, Meet the Press, Obama, Santorum on March 16, 2012 at 9:58 pm

This past Sunday, Rick Santorum appeared on Meet the Press. When David Gregory asked why he chose to run for President, The former Pennsylvania Senator responded:

“We have a special needs little girl and that, that weighed both ways, to be very honest with you.  I want to be home with her because her life is so fragile, but at the same time, I felt like you had to go out and fight for these little children who, you know, in the margins of society, in a government-run healthcare system around the world, they aren’t given quite the care and resources allocated because, you know, the government may not see them as useful lives.”

Upon hearing Sen. Santorum’s statements on Meet the Press, I was in disbelief. I could not believe that someone could be so irresponsible to perpetuate such lies, and I could barely contain the anger that I had towards him for using his daughter for such a crass political purpose. Language taken from a direct transcription can sometimes seem a little garbled, but if you clean it up a little bit, Santorum is claiming that one of the reasons that he is running for President is because government controlled healthcare systems might marginalize his special needs daughter and not give her the care that she deserves.

The Affordable Care Act did a lot of things, including extending insurance coverage to young adults by allowing them to stay on their parents plans, extending Medicaid coverage to more Americans, prohibiting exclusions for pre-existing conditions, and creating exchanges where people can buy insurance when they otherwise might not have access through an employer. Each of these tenets actually expands people’s access the healthcare, not limits it as Mr. Santorum claims.

I would assume that Rick Santorum has health insurance, and I would assume that he probably buys it from a private company. If that is the case, then the Affordable Care Act did not affect him at all. Not. One. Bit. It did not allow anyone from the government to tell him how to care for his special needs daughter, and it certainly did not deny her any kind of care. Quite simply, the Senator is using his daughter as a political crutch to try to legitimize his insane and false presumption that the Affordable Care Act was a government takeover of the health system.

What follows is an open letter to Rick Santorum.

***

Senator Santorum,

I still believe that you are a mostly honest man, so I will not call you a liar. But you are lying. You are lying when you tell our nation that health care reform could take away care from the least of us, your daughter included. Health reform expanded coverage to more Americans than ever and does not limit the care you can provide for your daughter. Sarah Palin was irresponsible for stoking up unwarranted fears about “death panels” two years ago, and you are even more culpable now as a Presidential candidate.

If you really did run for President because you were afraid of what health reform would do to your daughter, you are not fit to be President. Either, you did not take the time to understand what the legislation actually did and chose to be ignorant to the realities of reform, or you are deliberately misleading the American people.

Sure, it makes a great story to say that you are motivated to run out of concern for your daughter, but it is a manufactured concern. Health reform did not affect your daughter’s care, and to insinuate that Obama’s signature piece of legislation would determine care based upon “usefulness to society” is a flat out wrong, and you know better.

To state that this “government run healthcare system” is going to systematically deny care for the margins of society is a lie. You have already proven yourself as someone who plays fast and loose with healthcare facts when you falsely claimed that 10% of the deaths in the Netherlands were involuntary euthanasia. (In reality, less than 3% of deaths are from euthanasia, and not a single one was involuntary.) You haven’t let things like “facts” get in the way of your rhetoric, and your fear mongering approach is beneath you. Instead of providing us with viable opinions and solutions, you are creating an irresponsible lie to try to scare people into voting Republican.

What makes this even worse is that instead of just lying, you are lying and then trying to hide behind your daughter and try to legitimize your outlandish and irrational claims by inferring some sort of wisdom that is bequeathed to the parents of special needs children. It would make no sense for you to come out and say that you think that the government is going to ration care to the margins of society, because we know that is false. But, you try to build legitimacy in your assertion when you make it personal and make it about your family. When you frame it in the context of your daughter, you mean to invite people to empathize with your concerns, even when your concerns are not based in anything remotely close to reality. You are using your daughter as a prop defend an outright lie.

I do not doubt that your family faces unique and difficult challenges when deciding how to provide for your daughter, and I do not presume to understand. But you are either ignorant or you are deceptive. There is no middle ground here. The Affordable Care Act does not provide a mechanism for the government to ration care, and your daughter’s care remains unaffected. To continue to state the contrary is reprehensible. You either don’t understand how health insurance works, or you are deliberately misleading people. Either way, your integrity is lost, and your gilded morality is compromised.

You are what is wrong with politics, Mr. Santorum. Instead of elaborating on or proposing conservative reforms for the health industry (such as tort reform, portability mandates, or increased HSA allowances), you would rather implicate the President in a conspiracy to withhold care from the people who need it the most. Stop fear mongering, stop using your daughter to provide yourself with political cover, and start a real discussion about health reform without implying that our President is trying to kill us.

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  1. Although you and I have differing political views, I totally agree with your assessment on this one. Comments like these are what is wrong with politics right now…totally irresponsible and juvenile.

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