First of all, I'm going to take a couple Democratic sites to task. Think Progress dramatically summarized the exchange thusly: " Churchill told Cantor that her relative was dying of stomach tumors and needs an operation as soon as possible." Um, no. Ms. Churchill never said anyone was "dying." Similarly, over at Dissenting Justice, the headline reads "Eric Cantor says cancer patient should get help from "government program" or "charity."" Um, no again. Ms. Churchill never said anyone had "cancer." [emphasis mine].
Theatrics aside, what Ms. Churchill did say is that her relative was told that the "tumors" needed to be operated on "quickly." For the record, my presumptive diagnosis: uterine fibroids with dysfunctional uterine bleeding. This is a condition common among middle-aged African-American women, and is universally described as "tumors." While usually not life-threatening and rarely malignant, fibroids can lead to pain, heavy vaginal bleeding, anemia and other medical problems, and the treatment is usually surgical.
Regardless, let's presume the physician is accurate and the fibroids need to be operated upon "quickly", either for medical or lifestyle reasons. Rep. Cantor's answer is ridiculous. He recommends that this woman sign up for a government program (Medicaid) and if she does not qualify based on her income or wealth, then she must beg for charity care. And I have to ask, why would any citizen or physician need to be asked to give her charity? She is professed to be middle class and just down on her luck, so why didn't she prepare for the 'rainy day' prior to the storm clouds? Besides this one relative at the town hall, where is the unfortunate woman's family?
Let's pull this thread a bit further. Instances exactly like this woman's occur every single day in every single city. It's not a matter of if someone loses their insurance and needs surgery, it's when. There but for the grace of God goes every person in this country, and nobody seems to be saving for the rainy day. This unfortunate woman is guilty.... guilty of lacking independent wealth and in Ayn Rand's libertarian world, that is a damnable offense. And Eric Cantor, as GOP representative and small govt advocate, should speak up and, instead of advocating for government programs, tell her to nut-up and ask her relatives for some donations.
Eric Cantor needs to unravel this thought process and keep pursuing the "what ifs". Eventually you get to the point where you realize that a lot of otherwise healthy productive people are dying or becoming disabled by very treatable conditions, all because--either by circumstances out of their control or simple lack of personal responsibility-- they lack the immediate resources for treatment. Rep Cantor needs to be truthful and tell Ms Churchill, well, there's a good chance your relative may not get that surgery.
Frankly, I don't give a damn what health reform, if any, gets passed. The whole conversation has devolved into absurdity on both sides. I happen to know how health care works and I can see the debate is fatally flawed... so I can only assume that this happens with every debate of which I am ignorant, too. If this is how health care gets mangled, I can only just imagine how missile defense, terrorism, war financing, Israeli relations, banking reform, etc get twisted as well.
The Republicans seem to be behind most (but obviously not all) of the obfuscation in the current health care debate. The GOP rails against big government "because it doesn't work", and then the incompetence becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy when they take control and fuck everything up with Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage. And then Eric Cantor recommends that an uninsured woman run to sign up for a government program for which she does not qualify. Silly.
Be truthful, Rep Cantor. Tell her she just has to live with bleeding fibroids or find her own damn way: sell her plasma TV or move to a smaller house. What's so freakin' hard about that? Are you afraid the town hallers will get violent?
The fact is that the predicament of Ms Churchill's relative is a common occurrence: someone who probably has paid tens of thousands of dollars in health insurance premiums in her life, tens of thousands of dollars in Medicare payroll taxes... and just when she needs health insurance most, it lapses. Aw, snap. Ms Churchill's relative has supported, with her payroll taxes, millionaires on Medicare, but now she is left to fend for herself.
The right answer, and one Eric Cantor will never support, is to provide every citizen with a health care card when they are born and finance the system with consumption taxes. If you can afford to have two kids, a new car, a steak dinner or tickets to a baseball game, then you should be paying for your health care, and if you won't save, then we'll have to tax all those consumables in order to pay for your care. Americans need to learn from our European and Canadian friends that personal responsibility needs to be mandated because we ain't doing it on our own.... and ass-hats like Eric Cantor are too chicken to tell people that they may have to do without.