Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Found One

Over at Talking Points Memo, Josh Marshall asked this rhetorical question today:

Rep. Alan Grayson delivered a speech last night in which he made some really over the top comments -- namely that the Republican plan for health care is a) don't get sick and b) if you do get sick, die quickly. I'm not going to defend that. But is this really a controversy when half the Republican elected [officials] in the country have been saying for the last couple months, as a statement of purported fact, that the Democrats want to institute 'death panels' that will euthanize or deny care to people who can't justify their lives on utilitarian grounds?


And what reporters are stupid enough not to point this out?

Gimme A Break
First of all, from my perspective the only thing "over the top" about Rep. Grayson's statement was that he implied that wasn't the Democratic plan.

Second, it didn't take Marcy Wheeler long to find a reporter stupid enough:

George Stephanopoulos, clutching his pearls, wants to know why it was necessary for Alan Grayson to call out Republicans on the floor of the House for their stubborn defense of the status quo failed health care in this country (note, in his post, Steph uses Eric Cantor's YouTube of this speech, which ought to tell you on whose behalf he decided to cover this).

George Steph Wrings His Hands
Grayson said nothing worse than I've written here, and countless other citizens have written as well. He gets it. Neither Josh Marshall nor George Stephanopolous appear to. That Stephanopolous doesn't is not too surprising, for reasons Marcy pointed out. That Marshall doesn't get it is.

So, let me just explain the obvious for the obtuse - these aren't equivalent statements. Republican charges about their being death panels were made up out of thin air. Grayson's comments are backed by the facts - more than 25,000 people die in this country every year because they don't have adequate health care. Those are real dead people.

The government covers health care costs of the third of this country that's at highest risk already: the military, the elderly, via Medicare, and the poor, via Medicaid. It also covers children via SCHIP. The insurance industry has failed miserably to cover the remaining population adequately, even though it is far more expensive than Medicare. It has let many of those 25,000 die, and it will continue to if the current intent of the President and Congress comes to fruition.

Caption: A young woman whose brother has a disease that's treatable, but potentially fatal if left untreated. Do you think she gives a shit whether a congressman said that some of his colleagues don't care about whether people like him can get health care?

Image credit: Screen shot of this MoveOn video by Cujo359

I'm tired of the gutlessness of the debate on this issue. Real people are dying real deaths because the prostitutes and con artists who are running things don't want to give up their campaign money. If that's not genteel enough an argument for you, then you clearly aren't suffering from the situation.

UPDATE: Just received an e-mail from Darcy Burner's mailing list:

Last night here in this chamber I gave a speech. I'm not going to recount every single thing that I said, but I will point out that immediately after that speech, several Republicans asked me to apologize.

Well, I would like to apologize. I would like to apologize to the dead. And here's why.

According to this study, "Health Insurance and Mortality in U.S. Adults" which was published two weeks ago, 44,789 Americans die every year because they have no health insurance. That's right, 44,789 Americans die every year, according to this Harvard study called "Health Insurance and Mortality in U.S. Adults." You can see it by going to our website,

That is more than ten times the number of Americans who have died in the war in Iraq. It's more than ten times the number of Americans who died in 9/11. But that was just once: this is every single year.

That's right: every single year.

Take a look at this. Read it and weep. And I mean that - read it and weep because of all these Americans who are dying because they don't have health insurance.

Now I think we should do something about that, and the Democratic healthcare plan does do something about that. It makes healthcare affordable for those who can't afford insurance, and it saves these peoples' lives.

Let's remember that we should care about people even after they're born.

So I call upon the Democratic members of the House, I call upon the Republican members of the House, I call upon all of us to do our jobs for the sake of America - for the sake of those dying people and their families.

I apologize to the dead and their families that we haven't voted sooner to end this holocaust in America.
Here's a YouTube of the speech. We need about 400 more of this guy in Congress.

The 25,000 dead I refer to is from a different study. Going from memory, I think it was the World Health Organization that came up with that one. I'll check later when I have time. Or, you can click on the health care keyword and see where I linked to that or a similar figure.

UPDATE 2 (Oct. 1): The study was produced by the Institute of Medicine. It said that 22,000 people had died in 2006, up from 18,000 in 2000. Projecting out would suggest that about 24,000 people will die this year from not being insured.

I use this study's numbers not because I think it's better, but because it's the more conservative number. If that estimate is wrong, it's probably too small, not too large.

Yes, I found that link on TPM.

(Also added the photo and caption.)


Dana Hunter said...

The fact that he spoke the nekkid truth is probably what's sticking in the Cons' craw so badly. Excellent post, btw. Glad I stumbled across it in time to add it to the Daily Dose.

Cujo359 said...

Thanks. Glad you stumbled across it, too.

bennum said...

I don't think you understood what Josh Marshall was saying.

Cujo359 said...

Josh Marshall's comments clearly indicate he thinks Rep. Grayson's comments were somehow indefensible. He called them "over the top". What am I missing?

Dusty said...

A few folks freaked on his use of the word holocaust. my mind when over 44K die in our country every year simply because they do not have health insurance..that is a fucking holocaust, travesty, criminal-fucking-thing that needs to be fixed as soon as humanely possible.

Anonymous said...

OK thats disturbing. Look at it this way, if we take the Healthcare Summit in March as the beginning of the debate, approx 28,000 Americans have died while Congress and the Whitehouse have dithered, due in large part to Republican obstructionism. Why do Republicans hate Americans so much?

Cujo359 said...

Hi Dusty,

Yes, I suspect that's true. Another thing to keep in mind is that we freaked out when 3,000 of us were killed on 9/11. While it was a traumatic event that no one in his right mind would want to recur, it was far less than die for lack of insurance in a year, according to either of those studies. In both 9/11 and in the insurance "holocaust", people die prematurely. Both are tragic, particularly for the victims and their friends and families. There was plenty of truly insane rhetoric from Congress following 9/11, not to mention insane legislation.

Even by that measure, Grayson's comments seem only modestly overheated. And unlike much of what we heard regarding Islamic terrorism, nothing Grayson said is false.

Anonymous @ 2:15 PM - Yes, when you think about it, the numbers are astonishing. Far fewer people are murdered than either study contends die of lack of insurance every year. Fewer people die in automotive accidents than the Harvard study alleges die from lack of care.

Thanks to the actions we've seen in Congress, I think we can expect that number to increase, too. I wonder how many is too many?

Dusty said...

Although I did not lose a loved-one or friend in the twin towers, the nightmare will always stay with me.

I hate when the networks play the tapes from that day on the anniversary.

I just think being a little highstrung in the rhetoric department can work to his/our advantage. After all..the Rethugs don't hold back or worry about being pc when they talk about The Big O and the Dem's in general. And they are lying their collective asses off, whilst Mr. Grayson didn't lie about shit during his rant.

Cujo359 said...

I think if you're not angry about what's going on, then you have no stake in it. Either that, or you're incapable of emotion.

I grew up in the Northeast. I knew people who were in the vicinity of the WTC that day. I understand anger and fear. The fact is that many of us in this country, maybe most of us, feel that apprehension either about ourselves or someone we care about, because they can't get the health care they need. Having no plan, or having a bad plan (which is all the Democrats have) is tantamount to saying that situation will continue.

I'm not for hysteria. I'm for the truth. If the truth is awful, we should still tell it.

Dusty said...

If the truth is awful, we should still tell it. -Amen to that Cujo!

I hold no allegiance to any party. I want sincere, trustworthy people elected to office. Individuals that hold allegiance to the people, not the corporatocracy.