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Democrats Toothless Arguments at the Health Care Summit

Posted on February 26 2010 5:00 pm
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Dear Mr. President:

I received a letter from my little boy – who lives with me but prefers to use the U.S. Postal Service for standard communication – stating categorically we do not have enough money for the purchase of Star Wars Lego and other necessities. While he didn’t state categorically this was affecting his health, he does seem a little down lately.

Inasmuch as I know epistles of this type drive your policy I would appreciate both a one-time check and ongoing legislation to cover these shortfalls. Since I know catchy names are helpful in galvanizing support I would recommend calling it the “Mark’s Boys Need Boba” bill.

Copy of original letter and payment details attached.

Yours Truly,

Mark Meed

The plural of “anecdote” — as Bill Bennett trenchantly pointed out — is not “data”.

As the Health Care Summit unfolded it was instructive to note that in response to the meticulously detailed arguments of Republicans like Paul Ryan, the Democrats standard fallback was a letter about Uncle Elmer’s uninsured kidney stones.

My personal favorite in this ongoing organ recital was Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY, evidently by way of Mobile, AL) with her tale of what some wags have already referred to as  “indentured servitude.”

It doesn’t matter to Rep. Slaughter that dentures are already covered under Medicaid, or that dental coverage is nowhere to be found in any of the Health Care proposals. It’s a good story – one might almost say incisive – designed to shock the conscience and, oh by the way, foreclose debate. Call it the “Buy This Argument or We’ll Kill The Dog” expedient.

None of this is new of course. Maureen Dowd’s absurd canonization of Cindy Sheehan was previously thought to be a low point in the use of human shields but the rapid succession of tonsil-less, foot-less, tooth-less poster children has made small beer of that. Presumably, if things get even more difficult, President Obama will produce a letter from a constituent who has lost all his body parts due to a lack of insurance, except for one toe harvested from a distant aunt, which now has impetigo.

Democrats, if you’re looking for health care horror stories – not just in onesies and twosies but whole hospitals worth – you might check out the unfolding scandal at the Stafford Hospital in the UK, many of whose patients won’t be writing you anytime soon since they have expired at the hands of the National Health Service. This of course runs counter to your narrative, and those folks can’t vote anyway, so nevermind.

Just to get out in front of the e-mails, I don’t think there’s anything funny about people suffering. I absolutely think the politicians who would exploit them, and under whose policies their lot would only get worse, are worthy of great derision. Ditto the idea that these “Eliza on the Ice Floes” anecdotes are somehow a perfect argument for  the takeover of one-sixth of the US economy.

If common sense fails to persuade the Democrats of their current folly – and this is one thing President Obama and I agree on – they can expect correspondence of an altogether different kind in November.

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