Money Talks …

By Jeffrey Page

Loathsome how the Republican right reduces everything to uncomplicated code, such as the one-word putdown “Obamacare.” It’s no longer news that “Obamacare” is based on the health care plan Mitt Romney introduced in Massachusetts when he was governor. What matters is that the message is succinct enough to be understood without lengthy explanation. As in Barak is Devil. Barak is Bad Man. It means nothing, but a lot of people buy it.

Isn’t it revealing that the right slanders President Obama as a Marxist or a socialist for his assertiveness for universal health care when even Romney’s harshest critics don’t go near the M-word or the S-word in describing him.

Nor do Romney’s political assailants come even close to describing him as a communist and a fascist, two labels I’ve heard radio geniuses slap on President Obama – in the same breathless sentence.

What brings this to mind, yet again, is the story that circulated over the weekend about Rick Santorum’s 3-year old daughter Bella being hospitalized. She suffers from a serious genetic disorder known as Trisomy 18. Santorum did what any dad would do. He ceased campaigning in Florida and returned north to Bella’s side. Anyone with an ounce of decency, and the wherewithal to exist if the boss says no-you-can’t-take-off, would have done the same thing.

But it got me to thinking how much easier it is to do the right thing when you can afford to do it, when you can tell the boss to get out of your way, when you can get appropriate treatment for your little girl and not worry about the price of care or medication, when you have enough money on hand to pay for the doctor or the mortgage but not both.

Santorum, among the sharp critics of “Obamacare,” made $1.3 million for the 15-month period ending last August. A lawyer in Monticello I wrote about years ago once told me about the danger and the folly of counting other people’s money. And I subscribed to that until now. It is a fact: Rick Santorum can afford health care.

Newt Gingrich, aside from his $500,000 line of credit at Tiffany’s (sorry, I couldn’t resist), reported a 2010 income of $3.1 million. Right, he didn’t get it for being a lobbyist – oh perish the thought – but as someone offering historical perspective to people who hire lobbyists, some from Newt’s own firm. It is a fact: Newt Gingrich can afford health care.

Mitt Romney reported combined 2010 and 2011 income at $42.6 million. It is a fact: Romney can afford health care.

They all can afford health care but have the nerve to dismiss critics of their opposition to the national plan as soldiers in the armies of class warfare. But it’s the right that has declared the war, suggesting that if your daughter suffered from Trisomy 18, you’d be an unworthy, entitlement-grabbing enemy of the nation in asking that your kid be treated at the same level as Bella Santorum.

Let there be no misunderstanding. Santorum’s daughter deserves the best treatment available. So does every other 3-year old who’s sick. For political candidates with seven- and eight-figure incomes to deny such care is to define wretchedness.


5 Responses to “Money Talks …”

  1. r.c. taplin Says:

    right on. health care should be a constitutional right for all regardless of caste or class or cash!

  2. Jo Galante Cicale Says:

    I thought the same thing as Sarah Palin spewed her comments against universal health care while holding a toddler with Down syndrome. I’m sure he’s getting early intervention care which is the best hope for children with developmental disabilities. Too bad most states have had to cut back on this vital service since the feds have eliminated funding!

  3. Jeffrey Page Says:

    Good point, Jo. I wonder what kind of health benefits Palin received when she was governor. Following her anointing by McCain and her subsequent book and speaking fees, I suspect that maintaining health care is not a financial burden on the Palin family.


  4. LeeAgain Says:

    FREE healthcare IS a right, whether the government recognizes it or not. It is a human right. And I say “free” – not 80% covered by the insurance company, nor 80% of what the insurance company THINKS the cost should be – because 20% of, say, $100,000.00 is $20,000.00. That’s not exactly pocket change for most of us. As for those who claim that the public would abuse free healthcare, I ask who would be likely to think, “Gee, since it’s free, I think I’ll go have an extra colonoscopy.”

  5. Jeffrey Page Says:

    Great point, Lee. Additionally, I want to check out what kind of medical coverages is afforded to members of Congress, and how much they pay for it.


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