Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Rep. Jenkins Laughs at Uninsured Single Mother

Representative Lynn "Republicans are struggling to find the 'great white hope'" Jenkins recently laughed at a young single mother who can't afford health insurance for herself or her son and also makes too much to qualify for Medicaid or SCHIP. Er.. maybe not laughed at her per say, just at the idea that government should have anything to do with helping her (even though Medicaid and SCHIP are government programs that Rep. Jenkins apparently thinks should stay in place)

Here is the video and the transcript is below:

Elizabeth Smith: I’m a 27 year-old single mother. I work full-time. I do not have health insurance. My employer does not provide health insurance to me and I cannot afford it privately. Why shouldn’t my government guarantee all of its citizens health care?

Jenkins: Thank you. I’m sorry, maybe you missed my opening remarks, but absolutely. That’s why we have Medicaid in the current system and that’s why under the alternative proposal we have an option for low-to-modest-income people to be able to afford health care and then we’ve got the SCHIP program for children. I think we’ve got all of the bases covered. (uh.. I don't think ya do, otherwise we wouldn't have UNINSURED PEOPLE)

Audience member: She’s not covered under SCHIP!

Jenkins: OK, if you’re not then you’re the perfect example for why we need reform and why we need it now but we have to do it right and if we can do an alternative proposal, as I’m suggesting, give you the money to go buy it in a reformed marketplace where it is affordable, that’s my preference rather than to saddle the nation with yet another government program when they can’t afford the government run programs we have.

Elizabeth Smith: I want an option that I can pay for. I work. I pay my bills. I’m not a burden on the state. I pay my taxes. So why can’t I get an affordable option. Why are you against that?

Jenkins: A government run program (laugh) is going to subsidize not only yours (laugh) but everybody in this room. So I’m not sure what we’re talking about here.

Jenkins: I think it comes down to the whole discussion of…

(crowd interjects, everyone is talking over each other)

Lynn: OK folks. Let’s be respectful. UH-OH (talking over crowd). We’re gonna make time for everybody. We’re gonna all listen to each other respectfully, even if we disagree. I think we can agree we need reforms, again it’s just how we gonna do it. I believe people should be given the opportunity to take care of themselves with an advancebale tax credit to go be a grown-up and go buy the insurance.

~ Regardless of how you feel about offering tax credits as the answer to healthcare reform, I think it's pretty safe to say that a 27 year old single mother who works full time, provides for her son, isn't on welfare or Medicaid or any sort of government program for financial aid, and is actively participating in the democratic process and respectfully making her voice heard is pretty grown up.

This is part of the problem... assuming that people who don't have or can't afford health insurance are just lazy bums who need to get a job, who aren't acting like "grownups," when that quite obviously isn't the case.

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