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GOP Senator Leading Attacks Against Health Care Reform Admits Gitmo Detainees Get Better Care Than Americans

By Satyam Khanna on May 18, 2009 at 6:45 pm

"GOP Senator Leading Attacks Against Health Care Reform Admits Gitmo Detainees Get Better Care Than Americans"

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ensign121Last week, Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) visited the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and declared that even if detainees are held without charge, they should remain at Guantanamo “until the war against terrorism ends.” “They are like having Charles Manson times whatever factor — these people are so dangerous,” Ensign said.

Ensign said that Guantanamo seemed so appealing to him that it would be “hard to imagine” why anyone would want to close the facility. When making this argument, however, Ensign inadvertently made a case for health care reform:

It is hard to imagine why we would ever think about closing the Guantanamo Bay detention facility,” Ensign said. “I walked away very proud of what our troops are doing down there. I think any American would be proud as well.”

Ensign said the facilities at Gitmo are nicer than prisons in the United States, and said the food detainees were served was better than what he and the traveling lawmakers ate. “They get better health care than the average American citizen does,” Ensign said.

Guantanamo detainees receive care that is “as good as or better than anything we would offer our own soldiers, sailors, airmen or Marines,” the general in charge of Guantanamo has said. (Veterans care is widely considered the best health care available.) Guantanamo reportedly has 19 in-patient beds, a physical-therapy area, pharmacy, radiology department, central sterilization area, an operating room, and available psychiatric care. Notably, Michael Moore made the same argument in his movie, Sicko.

While Ensign inadvertently admitted to the dismal nature of American health care, he is currently the leader of the Republican Policy Committee (RPC), which is working to derail President Obama’s health care reforms. The AP reported this month that “Senate Republicans are already seeking and getting detailed advice on the best way to attack” Obama’s plan, and the RPC is soliciting advice from health care obstructionist Frank Luntz:

The suggestions are contained in a 28-page presentation by Frank Luntz. … Luntz reviewed his recommendations Wednesday with aides to conservative Republicans in a session organized by the Republican Policy Committee, headed by Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev. A copy was obtained by The Associated Press.

“The policy committee brings in all kinds of people. He presented us with ways to communicate better and we listened,” said Rebecca Fisher, a spokeswoman for the group.

Much more on conservative obstruction of Obama’s health care plan in today’s Progress Report.

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