Last week, ThinkProgress noted that the right-wing had escalated its fearmongering rhetoric on health care, with multiple Republican members of Congress saying that Americans would die if health reform passed. “Absolutely,” replied Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) when asked if “government-run health care” will “end up killing more people than it saves.”
On the House floor yesterday, Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite (R-FL) became the latest conservative to claim reform would kill people. “Last week Democrats released a health care bill which essentially said to America’s seniors: drop dead,” said Waite. Watch it:
Guest-hosting Bill Bennett’s radio show last week, RNC Chairman Michael Steele also used the health reform-will-kill-people rhetoric. Steele claimed that seniors will be “denied care” and compared it to Europe, where he says people will be “dead if they have to wait in the line.” At the same time, Steele claimed he wasn’t using “scare tactics:
STEELE: And what seniors out there, Larry, need to understand is simply this. That this bill will lead to a rationing of health care to such a degree that if you fall into a certain age group or category, you will be denied coverage. You will be denied service. It is that simple. This is not, this is not scare tactics. This is not kind of making this up. This is the reality of the system. How do we know? Because we’ve seen it work in Europe and in Canada. Why do you think seniors come to the United States to get their health care? Because they’ll be dead if they have to wait in the line over there in Europe to get it. You’ve got people who’ve been on the list for two years. On the list to see a doctor for two years. Now, if you’ve got a funny feeling in your colon, do you really want to wait two years to figure out what it is? This is what we’re talking about. This is not scaring people. This is the reality of it.
Neither Steele nor his right-wing allies mention that the United States has a higher “mortality amendable to health care” than European countries, which means “deaths from certain causes before age 75 that are potentially preventable with timely and effective health care.”