Earlier this month, GOP congressional candidate Allen West spoke at an outdoor rally to voters in Florida’s 22nd congresional district. He covered a number of issues, including his opposition to tax increases on the wealthiest Americans, his desire to reduce the federal deficit, and what he views as the progressive attack “on the values of this nation.”
At one point, West cited Census Bureau numbers that show that Florida’s 22nd congressional district has the second-highest number of uninsured residents in the country. West then asked the audience, “Are you going to send Ron Klein back to give you more of that?”:
WEST: The Census Bureau put out statistics this week that said congressional district 22 has the highest number, second highest number of uninsured Americans in the country. Are you going to send Ron Klein back to give you more of that? That’s the question you have to ask.
West is rightly outraged about the number of uninsured people in his district. The truth is, the United States lags significantly behind other industrialized countries in access to quality health care and serious reforms continue to be needed.
The problem with West’s statement is that he is actively advocating policies that would increase the number of uninsured people in the district he seeks to represent. On his campaign website the candidate proudly proclaims his desire to repeal the new health care reform law, complaining that it is a “government takeover of healthcare, complete with an exploding bureaucracy and massive tax increases.” In doing so, he offers no meaningful alternative, with health care not even listed as an issue on his campaign site. Congress’s health care bill will extend coverage to 60,000 of the district’s uninsured residents when it is fully implemented, meaning that West is effectively advocating for kicking tens of thousands of his district’s own residents off their health insurance while complaining about the high number of uninsured there.