Ezra nails it

In the American Prospect his month Ezra Klein describes the hypocrisy of John McCain’s approach to healthcare:

“It’s 3 a.m. and your child is awake. She’s been up coughing all night, fever resting between 101 degrees and, for a few scary minutes, 103. You and your husband spent hours trying to decide whether to take her to the emergency room. A couple of times, you even started toward the car. But you know you can’t afford a trip to the hospital. You don’t have health insurance.

It’s 3 p.m. and your child is finally asleep, her forehead still hot to the touch. Somewhere in the house, a phone is ringing. It’s your old insurance company, the one you had before your employer decided to make you a contractor rather than a full-time employee. Sorry, they say, but your family just doesn’t fit their risk profile. They’ve got nothing in your price range. What if we pay a little more, you ask, rapidly weighing the consequences of taking out another mortgage or shifting more purchases to credit. Sorry, the even-voiced representative says, this time more firmly, they really don’t have anything for you at all.

It is a call — or, sometimes, merely a letter — that millions of Americans have received, particularly those not covered by large employers or the federal government. These Americans are rejected for health insurance because they were sick once, or because they’re too old now, or for no apparent reason at all… .

It is not a call that John McCain has ever received. Aside from his awful internment in a Vietnamese prison camp, it is hard to find a day in McCain’s life when he was not sheltered by the government-run health care he now claims to loathe. Born the son of a Navy admiral, he was cared for by Navy physicians during his childhood. After graduating from high school, he enrolled in the United States Naval Academy, and the military’s care continued until he retired from the service in 1981. In 1982, he won a seat in Congress, ushering him into the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program, and in 2001, he qualified for Medicare. When he says, “we have the highest quality of health care in the world in America,” he is speaking as a man who has enjoyed a lifetime of government-run care.

res ipsa loquitur


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