For months, Republicans have been trying to scare Americans away from supporting a public option in health care reform, claiming that “government-run” medicine is akin to socialism and would be disastrous. But the government already runs several successful, well-loved health care programs — most notably, Medicare.
Yesterday, Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) decided that it was “put-up or shut-up time for the phonies who deride the so-called ‘public option.'” He offered an amendment that would eliminate government-run Medicare:
Not a single member of Congress voted for the amendment, and Republicans were blasting it as a “political farce.” Last night, Weiner went on MSNBC and explained the GOP’s hypocrisy:
WEINER: Well, for some reason, I guess Republicans don’t like publicly funded, publicly administered health plans except for Medicare, and, I guess, except for the Veterans Administration and except for the health care that our military gets from the Department of Defense. The fact of the matter is, what we’ve learned is that government administered health care works pretty darn well. It’s got lower overhead and people like it.
So, when my Republican colleagues pound the drum and pound the podium about how they hate government-run health care, I guess they haven’t looked at what they get.
Republicans are refusing to acknowledge the hypocrisy in their statements warning about “socialized” medicine and their support for Medicare. Of course, conservatives also opposed the creation of Medicare in the 1960s and made many of the same claims that their counterparts are doing today. Forty-four years later, Medicare has helped America’s senior citizens live longer, healthier lives. By not voting for Weiner’s amendment, conservatives are acknowledging that their supposedly substantive claims about health care reform are nothing more than crass political fear-mongering.