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.
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
Second, it didn't take Marcy Wheeler long to find a reporter stupid enough:
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.
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
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:
Here's a YouTube of the speech. We need about 400 more of this guy in Congress.
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, grayson.house.gov.
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.
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.)