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Tilting at Windmills

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January 21, 2011

HENSARLING FAILS ON SO MANY LEVELS.... It's easy to find opponents of health care reform making bogus arguments, but I'm especially fond of those who manage to pack layers of nonsense into a short presentation.

For example, consider the remarks this week from Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), chairman of the House Republican Conference, explaining why he wants to gut the new system. (thanks to reader C.P. for the tip)

"The American people don't want it. It's personal.

"Here's my story, two days ago, I was in San Antonio, Texas, and my mother had a large tumor removed from her head. They wheeled her away at 7:20 in the morning, and by noon, I was talking to her along with the rest of our family. It proved benign, thanks to a lot of prayers and good doctors at the Methodist hospital in San Antonio. My mother's fine. I'm not sure that would be the outcome in Canada, the U.K., or anywhere in Europe.

"No disrespect to our President, but when it comes to the health of my mother, I don't want this President or any President or his bureaucrat or commissions making decisions for my loved ones. Let's repeal it today, replace it tomorrow."

I'm glad to know the congressman's mother is fine. I'm less glad to know her son doesn't know what he's talking about.

First, patients with tumors can and do receive fine medical care in Canada, the U.K., and throughout Europe.

Second, despite this fact, the comparison doesn't make any sense, since the Democrats' reform law bears no resemblance to the health care systems found in Canada, the U.K., and throughout Europe.

Third, there is literally nothing in the law that makes a president or other government officials responsible to making medical treatment decisions. Hensarling is either deeply confused or he's making stuff up.

Fourth, for Americans who rely on private insurers, "bureaucrats" make treatment decisions every day for our loved ones, and sometimes they deny coverage for patients in need of care. If this is a genuine concern, even confused, far-right lawmakers should gladly endorse the consumer protections in the Affordable Care Act.

And finally, Jeb Hensarling is 53 years old, which makes it extremely likely that his mother is on Medicare. She therefore appears to have received excellent care through a system of socialized medicine.

I'm well aware of the fact that there are legitimate complaints about provisions in the health care reform law. The fact that Republican leaders can't think of any, and are reduced to spewing such weak nonsense, doesn't speak well of their understanding of the policy -- or their reliability in trying to shape a new system for all of us.

Steve Benen 8:35 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (46)

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Comments

Tumors in Canada and Europe always turn out malignant. It's because of the socialist health care over there.

Posted by: Chris S. on January 21, 2011 at 8:45 AM | PERMALINK

"First, patients with tumors can and do receive fine medical care in Canada, the U.K., and throughout Europe."

Not to mention the phenomenon of Americans actually traveling to Thailand and India for major surgery because they can't afford it here. And the hospitals and treatment they receive there is pretty deluxe.

Also, "Let's repeal it today, replace it tomorrow." Maybe I'm stupid, but shouldn't you have a "replacement" in the pipeline before you "repeal"? What is the Republican replacement plan, does anyone know?

Posted by: SaintZak on January 21, 2011 at 8:46 AM | PERMALINK

I find it amusing that Hensarling credits both prayers and "good doctors" for the tumor's being benign.

Posted by: Bob Maurus on January 21, 2011 at 8:48 AM | PERMALINK

It proved benign, thanks to a lot of prayers and good doctors at the Methodist hospital in San Antonio.

Seems to me he's saying god made it benign, and god doesn't listen to Europe. That or the San Antonio doctors have some magic potion for converting tumors.

Posted by: martin on January 21, 2011 at 8:50 AM | PERMALINK

It proved benign, thanks to a lot of prayers and good doctors at the Methodist hospital in San Antonio.

Uh no. Praying and good doctors did not make it benign. It was benign because it was not malignant. Good lord.

Posted by: sue on January 21, 2011 at 8:50 AM | PERMALINK

"It proved benign, thanks to a lot of prayers and good doctors at the Methodist hospital in San Antonio."

What is Mr Hensarling implying? God decided to give his mom a cancer, probably because she had failed him in some way. But then, because of a lot of praying, the Good Lord decided to have mercy with her and in the last minute turned it into a benign tumor?

Posted by: eserwe on January 21, 2011 at 8:51 AM | PERMALINK

The subtext for the right-wing attacks on health-care reform (and for the very idea of universal health care) is the idea called "sharing". You might have to share your advantages with people you don't like. These people might include racial minorities. That's why socialism is incomprehensibly scary to people on Medicare. In the fever swamp of right-wing racism lies the idea that government bureaucrats will bus you to a hospital you don't want to go to and force you to share a room with someone you don't like. Every attack on social democracy is based on this emotional blackmail.

Posted by: walt on January 21, 2011 at 8:55 AM | PERMALINK

As the English say: Bugger you- I'm all right, Jack.

Posted by: wvmcl on January 21, 2011 at 8:56 AM | PERMALINK

Perhaps the Congressman needs a check-up from the neck up.
Maybe brain tumours run in families?
But, then, that would presuppose that the Congressman had a brain.
Or, where he keeps it, maybe he needs to see a procologist for his brain scan.

Posted by: c u n d gulag on January 21, 2011 at 9:00 AM | PERMALINK

Hensarling is either deeply confused or he's making stuff up.

Both.
So glad the American electorate decided to put these bozos back in charge. Yeah America!!

Posted by: ckelly on January 21, 2011 at 9:05 AM | PERMALINK

It's not nonsense at all that's packed into his statement, it's emotional dog whistling. You're supposed to FEEL angry about the President (who's black), bureaucrats (always bad), foreign country (part of the other), and treatment of a specific person (his mother, regardless of who paid for the treatment, and the sentiment doesn't apply when speaking generally).

Although the logical take down is spot on, this doesn't resonate or register with the right-wing closed loop communication system, only the anger.

Posted by: r_m on January 21, 2011 at 9:12 AM | PERMALINK

Huh, sorry to rain on your party, but I live in Canada, and any patient here with benign cancer would DIE while stuck on the waiting list to see a specialist (3 months for a psychiatrist for example).

Heck, just getting looked at for anything other than a gunshot/stab/crash takes hours (3-7) at the ER or any walk-in clinic. Just got a family doctor (had to go to a different city to get it, you CANNOT make appointments anywhere without one), turns out he only works two half days a week, and I have to wait 2 weeks to get to see him.

I'll take the health care in MEXICO (where I come from, just because of the violence I left) over Canada's any day, for ANYTHING.

The USA should emulate either Mexico (aha, laugh it up, but I can get ANY doctor to see me over there within 24 hours) or France or the UK (unless Moore lied about them too, he sure fooled me), not Canada...

Posted by: Al on January 21, 2011 at 9:12 AM | PERMALINK

The words you quote, Mr. Benen, come from the mouth of an elected idiot whose world view is tumble-weed-centric. He really should get out a bit more and talk to others who could help elevate his wits, for by his utterance, he is obviously witless!

This person is unfit to be a sentient creature, let alone an elected official who welds a vote in one chamber of power in our good ol'USA! -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on January 21, 2011 at 9:22 AM | PERMALINK

"It proved benign, thanks to a lot of prayers and good doctors at the Methodist hospital in San Antonio."

It proved to be benign because it started that way. Now had it started cancerous and ,when removed, it biopsied benign, then he's got a story...

Next, Al, in Canada. Have you ever tried to get an appointment to see a specialist here in the States? Only a 3 month wait would be the miracle Hensarling's talking about. I tried to see a dermatologist last week and it's 6 months.

Perhaps he needs to visit an ER here too. Just goes to show you what propaganda can do for information. Lastly, a gunshot wound in Canada? I thought Cheney wan't allowed there...

Posted by: stevio on January 21, 2011 at 9:23 AM | PERMALINK

"Huh, sorry to rain on your party, but I live in Canada, and any patient here with benign cancer would DIE while stuck on the waiting list to see a specialist (3 months for a psychiatrist for example)." - Al

Don't know anything about waiting lists in the Canadian health care system, so I won't comment on that. But two tings strike me as strange in your sentence above:
1. A patient with a benign cancer is not likely to die from it.
2. The success of psychiatrists in treating any kind of cancer is not that great, I would recommend another expert.

Posted by: eserwe on January 21, 2011 at 9:24 AM | PERMALINK

Just a stylistic comment: That wasn't "Al".

Posted by: DAY on January 21, 2011 at 9:29 AM | PERMALINK

God I hate unadulterated liars Al. Let's ask someone who really lives in both places which medical system they would want. Other than the fact that it's considerably colder in Canada I'd bet that the 90% of Mexicans who can't afford any health care at all would move to and accept Canadas health care system the same way they'd accept a lotto win. With open arms.

Posted by: Gandalf on January 21, 2011 at 9:29 AM | PERMALINK

I'm late to this dance, but am glad so many other people noticed the idiocy of Hensarling implying that his mom's tumor was benign because a: it was removed in the good ol U.S. of A, not some godless commie hospital and b: because of prayer. And that further more, had his mom went to a European hospital, or if America's health care reform were fully in place at this point, that tumor would have turned out to be malignant and his mom would have died.

Maybe he's implying that his mom never would have received treatment in a universal health-care America. But of course that's also asinine and not grounded in any reality.

Posted by: slappy magoo on January 21, 2011 at 9:30 AM | PERMALINK

The shrink was a specific example I know of personally (I'm yet to get cancer thank God, so I still haven't been put though the nightmare of finding out how long would I wait until I get to see any cancer doctor).

And benign cancer usually turns into malign if left untreated (like for waiting months for the specialist to deign to see you).

Want another? To see an actual paediatrician (for my 4 year old daughter), the waiting list is over a year long. When she got nose problems (white ball inside, way inside), the walk-in doctor (4 hour wait) had no idea what so referred us to the actual nose doctor (2 month's waiting time). I flew back to Mexico 3 days later and saw my nose-throat-ear doctor (had to go anyway, so may as well go see him, got the appointment within 2 hours, for that same day) and he immediately recognized it for stuffed cotton and removed it.

Had I waited the 2 months, she would have gotten a serious infection, to say the least.

Posted by: Al on January 21, 2011 at 9:32 AM | PERMALINK

"benign cancer" is an oxymoron; a benign tumor is not cancerous.

While we're on the subject of cancer, a couple years ago I had testicular cancer. While I was on chemo, my onco ordered an MRI which my employer-subsidized private insurance company denied. My question for the RW: What was the advantage I had from my claim being denied by some faceless minion in a priviate office in Chicago compared to my claim being denied by some faceless bureaucrat in a federal office in DC?

I've never gotten an answer to that question.

Posted by: Lifelong Dem on January 21, 2011 at 9:33 AM | PERMALINK

Unless the nutty 53 year old Congressman's mother was less that 12 years old when she had him I would say that the changes are at least 110% that she is on MEDICARE. Which in the TeaParty's mind is somehow not a goverment run program that they alone deserve.

Posted by: nodak on January 21, 2011 at 9:35 AM | PERMALINK

"I'd bet that the 90% of Mexicans who can't afford any health care at all"

Obviously you are totally unaware of Mexico's IMSS and Hospital Civil (and green cross). Any worker gets free access to them (wait times are far shorter there, I have used them), and even unemployed Tarahumaras right out of the jungle with no employment record can get free care at the Hospital Civil (IMSS is for employed people, ISSSTE for government employees).

So fock yourself for calling me a liar.

Posted by: Al on January 21, 2011 at 9:36 AM | PERMALINK

Saint Zac
For over a week I have called my repub congressman's office & sent emails asking for details of the repub replacement health care plan, staffers have said they will get back to me etc, but so far a big fat nothing!!!!

Posted by: js on January 21, 2011 at 9:46 AM | PERMALINK

No expert on cancer, so strike the benign-malign (hope I never have to due to getting it).

Here's another example: the green cross (ER) takes anyone and stabilizes everybody within an hour (then you sure have to wait, but on a stretcher and not on the hallway). You get billed only if you can afford to (no collectors, unlike the USA).

A co-worker here (developer) broke his leg, he got stabilized at the ambulance (as in leg immobilized), then he had to wait 5 hours on the ER hallway to get looked at by an actual doctor (he got into surgery 25 hours later).

Sorry, but even a taco vendor gets fixed faster at the IMSS.

Sure, if I get AIDS and require PROLONGED care Canada beats Mexico, but for everything else, no. And no mexican is being issued visas (unless they are drug lords or corrupt union bosses, they are all in Vancouver), I only got in because I applied as US citizen (why do you think I went here instead of the USA? I know it's even worse if uninsured).

Posted by: Al on January 21, 2011 at 9:47 AM | PERMALINK

Per Molly Ivins

Yet another example of a Texas town being deprived of its idiot when the Congress is in session. Thanks, Mr. Benen, for the detailed rundown on the many levels of idiocy.

As you've probably noticed, this is all part of the reactionary right technique: don't just hit 'em with one or two lies, shotgun-blast them with as many as you can fit in. Lies, innuendos, implications, references to long-past events (did Chappaquiddick at last die with poor Teddie? I somehow doubt it) - blast out a machine-gun barrage of so much that's just WRONG whenever you speak that it would take a librul a page or more PER PARAGRAPH to refute it all.

And so, it can't be done, and won't. The lies stick, the wrong impressions will never die.

Posted by: zandru on January 21, 2011 at 9:49 AM | PERMALINK

Wile living in England, my husband (american) suffered an aortic annuerism, the British health service saved his life, he had surgery, round the clock care, the finest specialists and a 10 day stay with round the clock nursing, the cost - zero!

Posted by: Joan on January 21, 2011 at 9:50 AM | PERMALINK

My, my, Al you sure travel a lot for medical procedures. I bet the flights alone would cost more than the treatments especially if your ailments aren't confined to prime seasonal travel.

I say, pick one country and see if it becomes more cost effective. Sounds like you'd be better off in Mexico. Via con Dios...

Posted by: stevio on January 21, 2011 at 9:52 AM | PERMALINK

Is that Al, the parody of Al, or a parody of the parody of Al?

Posted by: hells littlest angel on January 21, 2011 at 10:00 AM | PERMALINK

We DO have death panels. They are called insurance companies.

Posted by: Schtick on January 21, 2011 at 10:07 AM | PERMALINK

Hey Al don't be such a sackless weenie. If you want to tell me to go fuck myself go ahead. The shool marm's not going to scold you here. Mexico does in fact have a health care system available to all unlike here in the states but the real quality health care is given by private hospitals and doctors that cater to those taht can pay for it. As to being a liar you are.

Posted by: Gandalf on January 21, 2011 at 10:10 AM | PERMALINK

"My, my, Al you sure travel a lot for medical procedures. "

You brain-dead or just pretending?

I clearly stated I had to go anyway (for an unrelated matter).

And also stated I only left mexico because of the violence (read the news lately beyond this blog?).

Guess the wingnut websites are not the only ones filled with uninformed idiots after all (maybe even Canada is better off than the USA, what a sad state of affairs if true).

Posted by: Al on January 21, 2011 at 10:18 AM | PERMALINK

"but the real quality health care is given by private hospitals and doctors that cater to those taht can pay for it."

The same private doctors who charge patients in their private offices also work at the IMSS and Hospital Civil on government salary (only someone who has lived there and used the Hospital Civil knows that), hence poor people usually does get seen by the same quality doctor than rich people (being rich gets you through much faster though).

Who's the liar again? I dare you to prove this wrong (google all you want).

Posted by: Al on January 21, 2011 at 10:22 AM | PERMALINK

Benen buried the lede. The fact that the mother is likely on Medicare. To me that is game, set, match.

As a side note to those who constantly blame "the media" for the Democrats' misfortunes, as Woody Allen said "80% of success is showing up". If Democrats had a Karl Rove, he would be blasting fax and email press releases about how "Rep. Jeb Hensarling attributes mother's successful medical treatment to government-provided health care."

You do this for two reasons: 1. Make Jeb Hensarling look like an idiot when he tries to explain how Medicare isn't socialized medicine and 2. It is funny.

I am fully confident that democrats will not miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.

Posted by: square1 on January 21, 2011 at 10:22 AM | PERMALINK

re: Canada ... when the great Steve Yzerman (HOF-Det) needed knee surgery in '02, he could have chosen any doctor/facility in the world given his position with the Detroit Red Wings. Where did he choose to have his procedure? London, Ontario.

A co-worker here (developer) broke his leg, he got stabilized at the ambulance (as in leg immobilized), then he had to wait 5 hours on the ER hallway to get looked at by an actual doctor (he got into surgery 25 hours later).

Gee, when I broke my hip, I waited at least 5 hours here in the good 'ol USA to get seen by a doctor, another day to be seen by a specialist, and 2 weeks before I had surgery (the surgeon wanted to stabilize it for a few days, then got overworked and could not get back to perform the surgery). Personally, I find it surprising that someone did surgery only 25hrs after a break. Had the swelling even subsided by then? And US hospital emergency rooms are NO PLACE for anyone on a tight schedule. There can be some serious understaffing, as we would NOT want to cut into corporate profits. I've personally experienced waits up to 12 hours to see a doc for non life-threatening injuries, while the overworked docs scrambled to save lifes.

Posted by: G.Kerby on January 21, 2011 at 10:29 AM | PERMALINK

Benen buried the lede. The fact that the mother is likely on Medicare. To me that is game, set, match.

As a side note to those who constantly blame "the media" for the Democrats' misfortunes, as Woody Allen said "80% of success is showing up". If Democrats had a Karl Rove, he would be blasting fax and email press releases about how "Rep. Jeb Hensarling attributes mother's successful medical treatment to government-provided health care."

You do this for two reasons: 1. Make Jeb Hensarling look like an idiot when he tries to explain how Medicare isn't socialized medicine and 2. It is funny.

I am fully confident that democrats will not miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.

Posted by: square1 on January 21, 2011 at 10:33 AM | PERMALINK

Unfortunately, Hensarling is typical of the Republicans in Congress. He is mind-numbingly ignorant of both the reality of the existing health care system and the details of the health care reform law. Like a lot of his colleagues, he just strings a bunch of 2-year-old talking points together: Canada! Government takeover! Bureaucrats!

I don't know if his prayers helped make the tumor benign (I'm not going there), but pretty clearly the doctors didn't.

Posted by: DRF on January 21, 2011 at 10:43 AM | PERMALINK

Although I have not lived in Mexico I have traveled extensively south of the boarder. Thankfully, I have never required medical attention while traveling, but my understanding from research and conversations with Mexican friends and expats is that Al is on the level when speaking about health care in Mexico.

That said, from what I've heard care at the IMSS hospitals can be uneven, very good in some places and crappy in others. My understanding is that the care in the private hospitals is generally very good and considerably cheaper than in the US. I can't speak to the quality of health care in Canada.

Posted by: AK Liberal on January 21, 2011 at 10:43 AM | PERMALINK

for Americans who rely on private insurers, "bureaucrats" make treatment decisions every day for our loved ones, and sometimes they deny coverage for patients in need of care

And they have a profit motive for doing so, no less.

Posted by: Gregory on January 21, 2011 at 10:46 AM | PERMALINK

The pathetic care in Canada must be the reason Canadians (like those of all other industrial democracies) are clamoring for a system as perfect as that of the U.S. If only the dictators of those gulag-infested dystopias would see the light...

Posted by: beejeez on January 21, 2011 at 10:58 AM | PERMALINK

"from what I've heard care at the IMSS hospitals can be uneven, very good in some places and crappy in others"

That depends on whether good private doctors reside within the area of the local IMSS (easy within a city, not so much in a town).

"My understanding is that the care in the private hospitals is generally very good and considerably cheaper than in the US"

It is (except for super-fancy surgeries that pretty much anyone in the world fly over to the US to get done). But of course you won't get that from the TV (as in Nip/Tuck, season 1, Dr. McNamara's mentor doing "better" transgender ops than the ones down in Mexico, according to them at least).

Posted by: Al on January 21, 2011 at 11:03 AM | PERMALINK

You missed the point, Steve. If his mother had used Obamacare the tumor would have been malignant.

Posted by: CDW on January 21, 2011 at 11:28 AM | PERMALINK

It's strange that:

a.) People are responding to Al the troll as if he's telling the truth. He's more full of crap than the New Orleans sewer system during Mardi Gras.

b.) Some think there are no wait times in the U.S., or that anyone can get into any specialist at any time. Anyone who does think that is either lying or has never had treated anything more than the sniffles.

c.) Since wait times are actually comparable, seems to me that the big difference between the U.S. and Canada (or Mexico, or the UK, or wherever) is that you won't go bankrupt for getting sick anywhere but in the U.S.

So, yeah -- I'll wait a bit if it means not having to choose between paying a medical bill for my second botched back surgery, or my mortgage (which I have had to do more than once).

Posted by: Mark D on January 21, 2011 at 1:10 PM | PERMALINK

"It proved benign, thanks to a lot of prayers and good doctors at the Methodist hospital in San Antonio."

Actually, it was probably benign because it was benign. Who is this idiot? And if it wasn't benign, she would have a pre-extisting condition so as of, let's say, 2008 it's "good bye" from her insurance company.

Posted by: smartelephant on January 21, 2011 at 1:15 PM | PERMALINK

It's strange that:

a.) People are responding to Al the troll as if he's telling the truth. He's more full of crap than the New Orleans sewer system during Mardi Gras.

I don't think this is our regular "Al". His comments certainly accord with my understanding of the Mexican health care system. The only thing that gives me pause is his comment about "Tarahumaras right our of the jungle."

IIRC the Tarahumara live in the Copper Canyon of Chihuahua state. Not too many jungles in there. But, then I recalled that not unlike Norteños, many Mexicans have a fairly imprecise knowledge of their nation's geography.

Posted by: AK Liberal on January 21, 2011 at 1:58 PM | PERMALINK

Hensarling's a Texan, what you expect from the dumbest kind of white people on the planet (other than the rest of the South)??

Posted by: TCinLA on January 21, 2011 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

none

Posted by: Joan on January 21, 2011 at 8:06 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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