For months now, conservatives have been scare-mongering about health care reform with outrageous claims that it would lead to “death panels” that could “pull the plug on grandma.” In Congress, some Republican backbenchers have claimed that Americans will die if health care reform passes Congress. “We’ve been battling this socialist health care, the nationalization of health care, that is going to absolutely kill senior citizens,” said Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) on conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ radio show. “They’ll put them on lists and force them to die early.”
Now, the scaremongering has been embraced by the congressional GOP’s leadership. In an interview on Dennis Miller’s radio show yesterday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said that the public option “may cost you your life”:
MCCONNELL: Well, it doesn’t make any difference frankly whether you opt-in or you opt-out, it’s still a government plan. You know, Medicaid, the program for the poor now, states can opt-out of that, but none of them have. I think if you have any kind of government insurance program, you’re going to be stuck with it and it will lead us in the direction of the European style, you know, sort of British-style, single payer, government run system. And those systems are known for delays, denial of care and, you know, if your particular malady doesn’t fit the government regulation, you don’t get the medication.
MCCONNELL: And it may cost you your life. I mean, we don’t want to go down that path.
In his efforts to derail health care reform, McConnell has regularly fear-mongered about the British and Canadian health care systems, claiming that a public option would look just like them. Unsurprisingly, McConnell has gotten his facts wrong when he’s described other health care systems.