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Insulting the World

Anti-health reform groups put their foot in mouth on the international stage

By Richard Whittaker, 2:35PM, Fri. Aug. 21, 2009

Congressman Frank: Congrats, wing nuts, you're making him look even more sensible than ever
Congressman Frank: Congrats, wing nuts, you're making him look even more sensible than ever

It's tough to work out who is being most insulted during the debate about health insurance reform: The uninsured, the underinsured, Jews, Canadians, or the British.

Republicans and blue-dog Democrats are seemingly quite happy to leave the quarter of all Texans who can't afford insurance, or those that can but have been written off with a pre-existing condition, to die. On top of those are the people whose insurance won't stop them going bankrupt if they have an accident. But what of our neighbors to the North?

Yesterday Talking Points Memo released footage of Sen. David Vitter, R-Louisiana, (yes, he of the DC prostitution scandal) saying he wants the affordable Canadian prescription drug system to "collapse."

But ridiculous policy threats against Canada just put them in the same club as Israel and the Jewish population. First we had the lunatic accusation that the Jewish and openly gay Congressman Barney Frank, D-Mass., was backing a Nazi policy. That was topped only by the charming sight of a Republican shrieking Heil Hitler at an Israeli-American who praised Israel for having a universal health care system.

Rounding out the triumvirate? The UK.

First there was an egregious act of cultural imperialism when the right tried to suborn the medical condition of Prof. Stephen Hawking to their smear job. But a new low may have been reached in the case of Kate Spall and Katie Brickell, two Brits who thought they were taking part in a documentary about their experiences within the NHS. The London Daily Mail has reported that their words and stories were actually manipulated in adverts for anti-reform astroturf outfit Conservatives for Patients' Rights.

So special kudos to Congressman Roy Blunt, R-Miss., who slandered both the terms of the Canada Health Act and the British NHS by claiming he wouldn't be able to get hip replacement under those systems because he, at 59, is too old. This is, and there is no better way to explain this, absolutely untrue. As the editorial board of the St. Louis Post Dispatch found out, two-thirds of hip replacements in those nations are on citizens 65 and over. For most members, this would be an inexcusable statement: But this came from the chair of the House Republican Health Care Solutions Group. What excuse can there possibly be?

Someone care to remind the fringe right who exactly America's strongest foreign allies are.

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