Rep. Eric Cantor, the chief Republican whip in the House, has a reputation as less rabid than many of his co-partisans.
But apparently Cantor isn’t any more realistic, or any less cold-hearted. Consider the following bit of dialogue from a public forum on health care reform:
CHURCHILL: I have a very close relative, a woman in her early forties, who did have a wonderful, high-paying job, owns her own home and is a real contributing member of society. She lost her job. Just a couple of weeks ago, she found out that she has tumors in her belly and that she needs an operation. Her doctors told her that they are growing and that she needs to get this operation quickly. She has no insurance. […]
CANTOR: First of all I guess I would ask what the situation is in terms of income eligibility and the existing programs that are out there. Because if we look at the uninsured that are out there right now, there is probably 23, 24% of the uninsured that is already eligible for an existing government program […] Beyond that, I know that there are programs, there are charitable organizations, there are hospitals here who do provide charity care if there’s an instance of indigency and the individual is not eligible for existing programs that there can be some cooperative effort. No one in this country, given who we are, should be sitting without an option to be addressed.
I agree with Cantor: Given who we are, no one should be without a way of getting life-saving health care. But he’s unwilling to match his pious hope with any action. That woman is likely to die for lack of health insurance. Think of it as rationing, American style.
And what does Cantor propose to do about it? Precisely nothing. It’s not enough to wish that the situation were different.