Republicans who vote/voted for AHCA earned the enmity of parents like Natalie Weaver

Good luck with that. These moms aren’t going anywhere.

Author: Harold Pollack

Harold Pollack is Helen Ross Professor of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago. He has served on three expert committees of the National Academies of Science. His recent research appears in such journals as Addiction, Journal of the American Medical Association, and American Journal of Public Health. He writes regularly on HIV prevention, crime and drug policy, health reform, and disability policy for American Prospect,, and other news outlets. His essay, "Lessons from an Emergency Room Nightmare" was selected for the collection The Best American Medical Writing, 2009. He recently participated, with zero critical acclaim, in the University of Chicago's annual Latke-Hamentaschen debate.

12 thoughts on “Republicans who vote/voted for AHCA earned the enmity of parents like Natalie Weaver”

  1. At the risk of sounding like John Lennon, Imagine if we approached the entire issue of health care with one overriding thought: DISEASE IS A PUBLIC ENEMY! Let's frame the issues correctly to begin with and a higher quality set of questions will begin to be asked.

    1. I tend to agree with you, but according to Congressman Brooks from Alabama, disease is the result of poor life choices, and "people who live good lives" don't get pre-existing conditions ( Mind you, Hayek said in The Road to Serfdom that socially funded health insurance was acceptable because individuals can't fully protect themselves from the vicissitudes of life, and no one's going to try to get sick or injured because of the knowledge their treatment will be covered. But apparently in today's GOP, Hayek was a liberal squish.

      But yes. Agreeing that disease and poor health are Bad Things and worthy of attention no matter who they happen to would be a much-improved place to start.

      1. Look, just because conservatives adore Friedrich Hayek doesn't mean that they've actually read him.

    2. In America, declaring disease a public enemy points toward an obvious solution. More guns! We do not have a right to vote. Exercising the franchise is a privilege, not a right, and if it's difficult for some folks, well, that's too bad. We do not have a right to decent healthcare. Health is a privilege that many forfeit because of bad habits, bad genes, bad choices, or lack of funds. We do not have a right be treated respectfully by law enforcement. If you don't treat cops with proper deference, it's your fault if they decide to shoot you.

      But guns! Ah, guns. There can't be any restriction on guns because guns are the way God wants us to solve our problems. That's why we sometimes say a person who uses a gun plays God. The short-sighted and extremely ultra-liberal medical profession spends inordinate time talking about the harm guns do, instead of researching how guns can solve health problems. Do we know for a fact that guns can't cure cancer? Of course not, all we know is that many expensive cancer treatments proffered by the gun-grabbing medical establishment do not work. If we spent even 1/100th the amount we spend on "medicine" to provide guns for everyone (not "access" to guns, that's weak tea, but actual guns), we would see many fewer people dying from disease. If you pry my gun from my cold dead fingers, it won't be because I died of illness, but because I didn't shoot first. At least I had a fighting chance, which is more than you can say about someone who gets sick and can't afford care.

      1. Guns can reduce mortality from almost any (other) cause to zero. Just apply at time of diagnosis.

        Ironically enough, I have sometimes gotten the impression that the american focus on violence as a solution filters through to the way much of the medical profession works. There's a lot of emphasis on killing diseases, sometimes less on the life of the patients.

        1. There seems to be a real need for drama. Long ago, I was a systems programmer. Problems were analyzed by looking through 3-4 inch thick paper "dumps" showing the hexadecimal numbers in the system when it blew. This extremely cerebral, extremely sedentary activity was called "shooting" dumps.

      2. There is a great moment in "Key Largo" where a hurricane is approaching, and Edward G. Robinson' gangster character is getting very fearful and nervous. Humphrey Bogart says to him, "Show it your gun, Rocco." That has what he has always counted on to get his way, after all.

        1. Wow, now we can save money on disaster preparedness too! Is there anything guns won't solve?

  2. And let's remember that the GOP in congress is very much do-as-I-say. Their health plans are out of Washington DC, which they can count on not to waive anything.

  3. I agree with what everyone has said, above, but I'm not so sanguine about the likelihood that stories like this will create much of a problem for politicians who vote for AHCA. First of all, there's Kentucky: we have already seen people enthusiastically voting for politicians who promised to dismantle their health insurance system. Second, Sophia's condition is rare and genetic: it is easy for people not to want something to drive policy that they think will not affect them. For example, I don't have percentages, but I know that many of the Republican politicians in particular who came out in support of LGBTQ rights did so only after they learned that a close family member was gay. Third, Sophia's condition (as mentioned) is rare and genetic: it will be, I suspect, all too easy for the other voters in Weaver's district to decide that their tax money can't be going to provide extensive care for everyone who has an unusual medical situation, and isn't there a patient in Iowa who's costing something like a million dollars a month, and really, with a child that fragile, wouldn't she do better in a hospital where she can receive round-the-clock care from specialists? (I find it scary how easily I can channel those voters.) And fourth, I can easily see the politician saying that Ms. Weaver has a very difficult situation and, believe him, she has his sympathy and his good wishes, but the question is whether the government has the responsibility to provide free care, and has she talked to her insurance company about the cost of coverage and maybe tried to work out a deal?

    Please note, I agree with absolutely none of the four positions I have laid out above. I am just making the point that I'm afraid Ms. Weaver will not have much of an effect. It will be too easy for most voters to ignore her as a special case.

    What I think will have an effect is lots of people showing up in town halls and making lots of noise about common conditions that other voters can imagine themselves having to deal with at some point. (Older Americans are much more likely to think the government should help with some or all costs of long-term care, for example.)

  4. No American should die for lack of insurance.
    No American should go bankrupt for becoming ill.

  5. From what I've learned from Republicans, this family should A) have been working even harder so that they could afford healthcare for their child, B) be more fearful of the government and look instead to private charity, and if that fails C) form a blood relation with a Republican because often times Republican empathy requires the presence of immediate family to become activated.

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