Representative Ron DeSantis (R-FL), member of the House Freedom Caucus (freedom in the sense of freedom to further oppress the marginalized), went on CNN today and made the Republican party’s callous disregard for the poor more explicit than ever.
Erin Burnett asked DeSantis about how he and fellow anti-Obamacare Republicans would answer to Tiffany Koehler, a Donald Trump voter whose life was saved by the coverage she received under Obamacare. Koehler believed Trump’s campaign promises that he would provide people like her with even better coverage for even lower costs.
However, the new Trumpcare law that has been proposed, and which the President endorses, disproportionately harms the poor, the sick, and the elderly. Passing it into law would mean worse care and higher costs for people like Koehler.
DeSantis had nothing good to say in response to Burnett’s question as he attempted to defend the indefensible.
After pontificating about the admittedly chaotic Obamacare rollout, DeSantis finally dropped this astonishing statement:
“I would say though, and people who supported Obamacare used to make this point a lot before it passed, there really is no lack of health care. If people really need it, they show up to the emergency room, they do get care, it just gets passed on to other folks.”
Burnett was astounded. It is true that if you have a heart attack or a burst appendix and lack coverage, you will be treated by an emergency room. But if you are not literally about die in the next few hours, the emergency room will not treat you unless you are able to pay.
Burnett burst out, “But [Tiffany Koehler] had $1 million in cancer treatments. You’re not going to get that by showing up in an emergency room.”
Indeed, emergency rooms do not provide lifesaving treatments like ongoing dialysis, bone marrow transplants, or chemotherapy. They will save you from potentially fatal injuries or a heart attack, but not much else.
Furthermore, how can a self-identifying fiscal conservative justify demanding that the poor pass on the costs of their too-little-too-late health care to other people?
Of course DeSantis also ignores the fact that denying regular preventative care and routine screenings to the poor ultimately forces them to need more expensive emergency care later on. The old adage ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure’ could not be more accurate.
The charming Republican Party, in particular the Freedom Caucus whose members think Trumpcare doesn’t go far enough in cutting coverage from the vulnerable, is not-so-subtly telling Tiffany Koehler,
“Thanks for your vote, but now that we’ve been elected we couldn’t care less about whether you live or die.”
Marisa completed her undergraduate degree in 2013 at the University of Wisconsin with a double major in creative writing and media studies. She is an advocate of progressive policies and focuses her interests on gender equality and preventing sexual and domestic violence.