As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Monday, September 17, 2007

Literally Blocking Universal Health Care

I'll have more to say about Hillay Clinton's newly unveiled health care plan, which looks slightly convoluted but solid on the merits. But I thought Badly Programmed Robot Mitt Romney unwittingly sent a powerful metaphorical message in his rebuttal to the proposal.

“If you’ve seen the report this morning on the latest version of Hillarycare, you’ll see that version 2.0 is not like to have any more success than 1.0,” he said. “Hillarycare continues to be bad medicine.”

This is standard wingnut boilerplate. It wasn't the what of what Romney said but the WHERE that made a statement. He did it in front of St. Vincent's Hospital in Manhattan, and not only in front of the entrance but actually in front of the ambulance bay. Can you think of any better way to visually say "no health care for you" than that?

St. Vincent's was pretty cheesed off.

“Today Mitt Romney, a candidate for President, held a press conference outside of St. Vincent’s Hospital Manhattan without the knowledge or consent of the hospital to make a statement regarding the healthcare debate in the Presidential campaign. As a non-profit organization, St. Vincent’s Hospital does not become involved in political campaigns. We find it unfortunate that Mr. Romney misappropriated the image and good will of St. Vincent’s Hospital to further a political agenda. While St. Vincent’s believes that there needs to be real discussion about healthcare reform and finding ways to provide coverage to the now 47 million Americans without health insurance, it is inappropriate for the hospital to be used for political gain.”

This is right in line with a Romney campaign that wears fake police badges and harrasses journalists. The world revolves around them and they don't have to go around "asking" for "permission" to hold their press conferences in front of WHERE THE AMBULANCES ENTER AND EXIT.

But it's also in line with a conservative movement that wants to restrict 47 million uninsured Americans from getting access to quality health care. While the Clinton plan is more about providing universal health insurance than universal health care, it includes steps that are very much in the right direction, like guaranteed issue (no more denial of coverage for pre-existing condition) and portability. The Republican candidates want nothing to do with increasing access. They believe that health care is a privilege of the powerful, not a right of the people. They believe that the insurance and pharmaceutical industries are allies and not roadblocks on the path to reform. They believe that any effort to make health care more affordable and more universal must be blocked, physically, by standing in front of the hospital gates, Even Romney, who was forced to accept the Massachusetts legislature's plan for UHC with major public outlays, damaged it with vetos that were overridden, and then took credit for it, is forced to denounce offering health care at a decent price if he wants to win the nomination.

There's another sidelight, that Romney spoke in front of a hospital who's trauma center is named after Rudy Giuliani - Judith and her Louis Vuitton bag were major donors. Attempting to disavow any connection, Romney said “I chose a place where there was a public sidewalk in front of a hospital." Exactly. To stop people from getting in the hospital, literally and figuratively.

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