Newest reports from Gallup and other sources show that today’s uninsured rate is now the lowest ever recorded. That news should have everyone agreeing finally on what a success health care reform really is, and how the Affordable Care Act finally brought quality medical coverage to Americans like it promised. Instead, too many people are still fighting the reforms with the most incendiary rhetoric ever, and citizens are being arrested for pressuring their legislative representative to open up even more options for the poor.
There were a number of GOP partisans declaring that the Affordable Care Act was a train wreck, citing issues with the federal exchange website and constituents calling to complain about canceled plans (usually because the plans were calamity insurance policies that really offered no coverage at all).
Tennessee state Senator Stacey Campfield, a Knoxville Republican, took that train wreck one stop further into Godwin’s Law territory, comparing millions of people being able to purchase affordable insurance akin to the Holocaust. “Democrats bragging about the number of mandatory sign ups for Obamacare is like Germans bragging about the number of mandatory sign ups for ‘train rides’ for Jews in the 40s,” he wrote at his blog, according to the Christian Science Monitor.
Even when confronted about the offensive remarks, Campfield was unmoved. “I think Jewish people should be the first to stand up against Obamacare,” he told the media outlet. “When you have government deciding who gets health insurance and who doesn’t, what services they get and what services they have to provide, they’re really deciding who lives and who dies. It’s a slippery slope.”
People are standing up, of course, but they are standing up to demand more access to health care, not less. Where states are refusing to expand the amount of income that a person or family can be earning and still qualify for Medicaid, residents are still caught in the gap between needing insurance but not being able to afford it — a situation that seems to suit their Republican representatives in the state and Congress just fine.
In Missouri, Medicaid expansion proponents are taking their anger to the capitol itself, even if that means shutting the place down. The Missouri Medicaid Coalition organized hundreds of clergy and protesters to enter the capitol this week, where they sang, chanted and otherwise chastised lawmakers for refusing to accept the federal funds that could expand health care for hundreds of thousands in the state.
“It is disappointing and disgusting. If they won’t talk about it, we will,” Rev. Cassandra Gould of Jefferson City told the Associated Press. ”It is immoral and people are dying.”
During the protest, which was conducted while lawmakers were debating other bills, “23 demonstrators were arrested for trespassing after refusing to leave the gallery when asked by Capitol Police,” the AP reports. Between the singing, shouting and eventual arrests, the protesters managed to shut down the senate for roughly an hour, according to the Springfield News Leader. Floor clearing and subsequent arrests began less than two minutes after the beginning of the shut down.
In states where Medicaid has not been expanded, people are literally being arrested to try to get health care for the poor. Accessible, affordable preventative health care will save countless lives, yet politicians like Campfield are claiming that health care reform and expansion is as bad as the killing of millions in Nazi Germany.
Surely, if lawmakers aren’t ready to stop blocking care, at the very least they can leave the offensive, inflammatory rhetoric at home.
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