At a Town Hall last week, Rep. Warren Davidson (R-Ohio) told a concerned mom that if her son wants health insurance he needs to get a better job or ditch his cell phone.
You’d think Republicans would have learned a lesson after their massive TrumpCare fail. Instead, they’re doubling down on denying millions of Americans access to health care.
About a half hour into the meeting a woman stepped up to the mic and expressed concern for her son, who’s in danger of losing his health insurance if the GOP rolls back the Medicare Expansion.
“My son did not have health insurance for four years until the ACA [Affordable Care Act] Medicaid was extended. He didn’t have health insurance because he’s in the service industry. And that industry pays minimum wage and they keep their employees below a certain number of hours so they don’t have to pay health insurance.”
She went on to say that many of the people on Medicaid are among the working poor.
“Can you explain why my son and millions of others in his situation are not deserving of affordable, decent health care that has essential benefits so that he can stay healthy and continue working?”
With the typical callousness we’ve come to expect from our GOP reps, Warren Davidson blamed her son for relying on Obamacare for his health insurance.
“I don’t know anything about your son, but as you described him, his skills are focused in an industry that doesn’t have the kind of options that you want him to have for health care. I don’t believe that the taxpayers here are entitled to give that to him. I believe he’s got the opportunity to go earn those health benefits.”
In other words, why can’t he just pull himself up by the bootstraps, improve his job skills, and get a better job? Never mind that fewer and fewer of these “better jobs” exist. Warren Davidson then said most of us “earn” health insurance through their employers, and that the ACA’s Medicaid expansion would put more people on welfare.
The GOP congressman added that her son can still buy himself a lousy “catastrophic” healthcare plan that doesn’t cover the 10 “Essential Health Benefits” (EHBs) required by the ACA.
He then declared that buying one of those cheaper”catastrophic” health insurance plans — which are worse than having no insurance at all, since you get nothing for the money you’re paying — is a “choice,” like buying a cell phone.
“What about prescribing what benefits he shall have? If he doesn’t want a catastrophic care plan, then don’t buy a catastrophic care plan. If you don’t want a flip phone, don’t buy a flip phone.”
People in the crowd booed, while one person shouted, “Oh my God, stop doing that” in reference to the “flip phone” comment. The concerned mother standing behind the mic added:
“I’m sorry, health care is much different than a cell phone. And I’m tired of people using cell phone analogies with health care.”
She was likely referring to a previous comment by Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), and she’s got a point. For starters, who the heck has a “flip phone” anymore?
Second, cell phones are no longer a luxury, they’re a necessity. This is especially true if you’re a job seeker and/or need your employer or your children to be able to reach you. For many of us, our cell phones also double as our Internet access and we don’t even bother with landlines anymore.
Third, most people don’t “buy” a cell phone. They lease it from their service provider for a monthly fee that gets rolled into their contract. Today’s monthly cell phone plans aren’t nearly as expensive as most of our health insurance premiums plus copays.
Clearly, the Republican Party does not see access to health care as a human right. As with everything else, they claim we’ve got the freedom to make “choices.” But when you’re underpaid and underemployed, you either don’t have any choices or the choices you have all suck and fail to deliver the desired result: Staying healthy.
Because, seriously, what on earth have people working in service-sector jobs done to deserve living in poverty and not having health insurance? The fact is, our health care system has been based on our employment for decades. But now employers aren’t holding up their end of the bargain.
If Republicans truly want to stop Obamacare, they need to focus on building an economy that provides enough good jobs with benefits for everyone. But if we still had that, no one would have bothered with creating and enrolling in the ACA in the first place.
Watch: Rep. Warren Davidson tells concerned mother why her son doesn’t deserve to have health insurance.
The exchange between the concerned mother and the GOP lawmakers begins at the 36:51 mark.
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