Comments like these come up from time to time. They’re always bizarre.
Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain said he would “be dead” if “ObamaCare” had been in place when he was diagnosed with cancer.
Speaking at a campaign event Thursday in Lexington, S.C., the former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza said President Obama’s healthcare plan would have limited his choice of doctors and prevented him from getting necessary medical testing in a timely manner.
“If ObamaCare had been fully implemented when I caught cancer, I’d be dead,” Cain said.
Cain, who developed stage four colon and liver cancer five years ago, told voters “other countries” would have forced him to wait “six months” to get a CAT scan. He added that “some bureaucrat in Washington” will now be making medical choices “if you get a serious illness.”
This kind of garbage is, alas, not uncommon. In March, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) said the Affordable Care Act would have killed his daughter, who was born with a heart defect. He got literally every relevant policy detail backwards. In April, Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum (R) said he’s running for national office in part because one of his daughters, who was born with a genetic abnormality, wouldn’t have survived in a country with “socialized medicine.”
It’s hard to overstate how truly stupid all of this is. Indeed, it’s really just the “death panel” argument without the phrase.
Since I’ve already tackled the Johnson and Santorum arguments, let’s focus on Cain. Where are these “other countries” that force its citizens to wait six months for CAT scans? Cain didn’t specify, but (a) they don’t exist in the industrialized world; and (b) the Affordable Care Act doesn’t create such a system.
As for Washington “bureaucrats” making medical decisions for the ailing, the allegation bears no resemblance to reality. Either Cain is condemning a law he has no substantive familiarity with, or he’s just blatantly lying.
I am curious about something, though. In Cain’s mind, does he think cancer patients in Massachusetts — where the state has had an ACA-style system in place for several years — are routinely dying as a result of delayed exams and bureaucratic penny pinching? Wouldn’t this nightmare be pretty big news, and destroy Mitt Romney’s national ambitions?
Kate Conway added, “What the Affordable Care Act does do is increase access to health care coverage so that other people (people without Cain’s pizza fortune) who find themselves facing a diagnosis like Cain’s can afford quality treatment. It also makes it illegal for insurance companies to drop patients diagnosed with serious (and expensive) illnesses based on unintentional errors on applications. It’s kind of twisted that Cain uses his against-the-odds recovery to condemn a policy that could help others less fortunate than him beat similar obstacles.”