Back to the macabre nonsense

BACK TO THE MACABRE NONSENSE… About a month ago, Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) caused a stir when he described the conservative approach to health care: “Don’t get sick. That’s what the Republicans have in mind. And if you get sick America, the Republican health care plan is this: die quickly.”

The GOP and its allies were outraged. Grayson made it sound as if Republican policies are literally life threatening. The remarks, conservatives said, crossed a line of decency. No one, the argument goes, should accuse their rivals of promoting lethal health care policies.

A month later, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ken.) told a conservative radio host that the public option favored by most congressional Democrats and most of the American public “may cost you your life.”

Dennis Miller asked McConnell specifically about the state opt-out compromise. The Minority Leader said it didn’t matter because a public plan that competes with private plans is inherently dangerous.

“I think if you have any kind of government insurance program, you’re going to be stuck with it and it will lead us in the direction of the European style, you know, sort of British-style, single payer, government run system. And those systems are known for delays, denial of care and, you know, if your particular malady doesn’t fit the government regulation, you don’t get the medication.

“And it may cost you your life. I mean, we don’t want to go down that path.”

It’s a reminder of just how pathetic the debate itself has been over health care reform. After six months of back and forth — hearings, debates, town halls, reports, committee votes, interviews, analyses — the highest ranking Republican in Congress still feels comfortable telling a national audience that competition between public and private health coverage “may cost you your life.”

Indeed, one of the few constants throughout the process is conservative Republicans on the Hill, unwilling or unable to debate the policy on the merits, trying to convince people that Democratic policies may actually kill them.

What a sad joke.