Unless you really feel like laboring through two and a half minutes of misinformed right-wing falsehoods, misleading statistics, and extreme xenophobic paranoia, skip ahead to 2:30 on this video, where you will see a brave LSUA student, proudly sporting an Obama campaign t-shirt, respectfully asking a question about health care and the insurance industry to Congressman Rodney Alexander.

To the Congressman’s credit, he personally selected her and remained respectful as she asked her question, which cannot be said of the rest of the audience, many of whom attempted to drown out her question.

This young woman is Caina Munson, and as she attempted to explain, she is a hard-working 21-year-old college student who grew up in a working-class family and who lost her health care coverage when she turned nineteen years old. (Today, she has coverage, something she was unable to explain due to the jeers of the audience; she was simply attempting to underline her experience as an example of the flaws in today’s system).

Instead of Congressman Alexander responding to her question, a man in the audience jumped to his feet, proceeded to explain his qualifications as an authentic American, and then lambasted Ms. Munson, suggesting that if she wanted health care, she should get a full-time job, while some suggested she should simply go to war. What patriots!

By the way, Congressman, Ms. Munson did not claim you voted to take us into war; she said you voted to fund the war.

20 thoughts

  1. Americans paranoid over government run health insurance? How could people be apprehensive over the same people who’re in charge of FEMA and the VA Hospitals having more control over everyone’s health care? It was good for MS. Munson to express her opinion on the matter, but it is equally important that the views of all Americans are respected and upheld as per the 1st Amendment. Lastly,lets not split hairs on who voted to fund the war (Barack Obama, Hilary Clinton,etc.) because everyone is guilty there.

    1. OK, as a veteran who (now thanks to Obama reversing a Bush policy that cancelled it) has access to VA healthcare, I want to know why everyone keeps throwing the VA out there as being a horribly inefficient medical system?

      Seriously, both the VA and the government managed semi-private TriCare systems (for children and spouses of servicemembers) are very effective at meeting the healthcare needs of their constituents.

      You don’t have to fight them because their job is to serve the military family, not to make exorbitant profits in lieu of effective care.

      My grandfather received care in which he got a brain tumor removed in Shreveport by a Dr Nanda who is one of the best surgeons in that field in the world. My brother has recently finished up cancer treatment for a tumor in his esophagus. Alexandria resident Charlie Clegg is featured in this month’s US News & World Report having received experimental stem cell treatments for heart failure in Houston — he got that through the VA.

      Where does it not work? How is it an example of why government should not offer healthcare?

  2. When I attended LSU you could purchase for a miminal fee a health insurance policy that covered any sort of catastrophic illness that you might contract while matriculating. Small surface wounds, sniffles, and sore throats were treated at the infimary for free. And for those who needed it, free contrceptives were also available. Although this was 20+ years ago, I suspect those policies are still available.

    I agree with John, this debate is more about control (or lack thereof) over our own lives and decisions than it is about health care.

  3. John Galt, yes, I also read Atlas Shrugged. I was seventeen years old, and I remember finishing the book during a lazy Sunday afternoon floating on a boat in the middle of Kincaid Lake. And, at the very end, I remember declaring, “Who is John Galt? He’s an idiot.” (No offense).

    I must admit, though, I find it funny that so many conservative/libertarian types are advancing this John Galt meme. Ayn Rand was a narcissist who believed she created her own philosophical system, as if she were a modern-day Aristotle, by proclaiming that “selfishness is a virtue.”

    I wonder how many Christians realize that when they declare themselves as “Going Galt,” they’re actually announcing their own fundamental opposition to Christian virtues– you know, love your neighbor as yourself, the meek shall inherit the earth, etc.

    This argument is NOT about control over our own lives.

    With all due respect, if you believe Obama is attempting to take control over your life simply because he wants to reform health care, then you are demonstrating the power and potency of the special interest groups and entrenched interests that have hyperbolized, lied, and distorted the true intentions of health care reform.

    You have allowed yourself to become convinced by the well-honed, heavily-financed insurance industry, which, behind closed doors and occasionally in full-view, admits any reform that provides even the possibility of coverage to the nearly 50 million Americans who remain uninsured will decrease their profit margin.

    I say: BOO HOO! And you can call me a socialist for believing this… but I know that when gasoline was $4 a gallon and Exxon was bragging about raking in the most money in any fiscal quarter in the history of the world, many, if not most, of the same folks railing against this phantom “government take-over” of health care were livid by Exxon’s excesses.

    You would have been hard-pressed to find an elected Republican publicly extol the virtues of $4 a gallon gasoline and its relationship with Exxon’s remarkable return on investment.

    When we pay a premium for gasoline, everyone knows, and everyone knows who profits.

    And perhaps, some may argue, there is nothing wrong with a company like Exxon making money because they can supply a product that is in demand.

    For Exxon, that product is oil.

    For Blue Cross Blue Shield and Travelers and all of those other private insurance companies, their product is, literally, an individual’s health care. For those lucky enough to qualify for private insurance, you pay a portion of your monthly income just to feel assured that, if you ever face medical treatment or a surgery, you are protected– unless, of course, the insurance company decides otherwise.

    For private health insurance companies, their product is protecting human life, as long as they can make a return on their investment, which means determining whether or not insuring a human life is a risk or a reward.

    I sometimes wonder how many of the very folks who brandish pro-life bumperstickers on the back windshields of their SUVs– people like Congressman Joseph Cao who say they could never support health care reform unless it magically overturns Roe versus Wade– cannot acknowledge their own cognitive dissonance: Believe it or not, it is still possible and intellectually consistent to believe that abortion is wrong, while simultaneously believing that protecting the lives of the living is an imperative of an Almighty God, not the Almighty Dollar.

  4. i’m a 19 yr old full time college student too, and I just got married, I have no insurance- but you don’t see me whining about how the government owes me healthcare. Its not a right and there are plenty of charity hosiptals that will help you if you truly get sick. caina needs to suck it up and do what that guy said- work hard and PAY for her healthcare thats what the rest of america does. if you want something you work for it- its the american way. the government is not a babysitter that provides everything you need. its not the tax payers fault that she doesnt have insurance, so y should they pay for it? i’m certainly not going to ask them to pay for mine.

    1. I guess you didn’t listen to the video, Ms. Candler. Ms. Munson works and goes to college.

      By the way, I had a full-time job back in 2005, where I worked 40+ hours a week for a small business, and guess what? My company didn’t offer health insurance. Why? Because the cost of insuring their employees would have crippled their profit margin.

      So getting a job may not necessarily be the answer for most Americans, if one is to believe that most Americans hold jobs at small businesses.

  5. Lamar,though you may have read Atlas Shrugged,you apparently don’t understand it. It is my love for my fellow man which drives my beliefs that man should keep the fruits of his labor and should be left alone to run his own life. I do love my neighbors as I do myself which is why I am not supporting one trillion dollars in new spending which must come from mine and my neighbors pockets, and I assure you it is for purely selfish reasons that I want to keep my money. As for the “special interests” and the like, I have never knowlingly spoken to a lobbyist. You seem to think everyone has some sort of agenda and not able,or willing, to accept that people do not want this plan. In all of the debate never once has Barack Obama mentioned Medicare price fixing makes it illegal for doctors to charge less for their services, or how government mandates drive up the cost of insurance by almost 25%. All I hear is that people can’t afford health insurance. When you have working Americans in the middle and lower income brackets losing 15-33% of their income to the Income Tax on top of all other taxes, is it any wonder Americans are strapped for cash? However, now the government has instituted new vehicle regulations which will increase the cost of a vehicle and especially trucks and Cap and Trade which will drive up energy costs and yet you liberals can only think of more government, more taxes, as the answer. Your solutions are tired. I am hearted by the fact that my fellow countrymen are speaking out against this take over after we have seen the mismanagment of Medicare and Social Security for so many years. You do,at least, grasp how people make a profit,but once again have failed to explain why this makes the government option a terrible idea. A tax payer subsidized healthcare option will undercut private insurance companies and people(seeking their own self interst a la Ayn Rand) will abandon private insurance in favor of cheap government insurance. What happens when a business cant make a profit? It goes under. People lose jobs, lose retirement, lose their healthcare, and the economy suffers. Economic decay,increased taxation, rationed care which prolongs suffering….these are not things I wish on anyone. I would go sofar as to say it is not in my self interest to witness the suffering of my neighbors. Clearly,logic escapes you Lamar White. Perhaps, you should read Atlas Shrugged again and again until you understand it.

    1. No, I “get” Ayn Rand. I just moved on after I realized that she never understood the real meanings of interdependence and democracy.

      Thank you for underscoring my beliefs in her work– which, sorry to say, is completely fictional and typically set in some sort of dystopian hybrid of Rand’s native Russia and the United States in the 1950s.

      That said, I’d encourage you to “Go Galt” and, from here on out, cease your use of all public roads, utilities, drainage, parks, and airwaves- and– if you decide you must pay taxes, be sure to line item every infrastructure project and social program with which you personally agree.

      We don’t need government if we all individually aspire to be totally selfish, right?

      Seriously, Ayn Rand was as much of a philosopher as L. Ron Hubbard was— and seems to have just as much of a following.

      Best of luck!

  6. You know, back in the day when you got that many bigots and xenophobes in one room together you either called it the Masons or the Klan. Today it’s a “town hall”.

    I am just so amazed at how greatly misinformed so many people in our country are about just about everything. And what amazes me further is that they want to stay misinformed and only hear their own personal “truth”.

    Take that woman complaining about the deficit. What she fails to mention is that when her crew took office back in 2000 the deficit was 2.7 billion with a schedule that would have had it paid off in 7 years. In only 6 years they managed to run the country so poorly that that same deficit was over 10 billion with the likelihood that it would increase for many years to come. Yet, she calls the 11 billion Obama’s deficit!

    For 8 years these guys considered it unpatriotic and unamerican to criticize Bush or the Republicans, all the while the politicians they supported were pretty much destroying the country in a way that no one has ever managed to do in the past. The combination of an inept president, his corrupt cabinet, and a greed-stricken congress did more to weaken America than the 911 terrorists could have ever hoped to.

    Yet now, with the country in basically a shambles these same people who fervently argued for loyal support of our government when their guys were destroying our way of life, are doing everything possible to undermine the democratic process and to keep government from functioning to meet the needs of the people.

    How hypocritical. How sad. How unamerican.

  7. Great post Drew, but you forgot the John Galt type geniuses at AIG, Bear Stearns and all the other banks/brokerages, who pocketed billions off the system, while regulators slept as per orders from the administration. “Greed is good”, we were told.

    The real irony is how the right manages to trick the very people universal health care would help, by feeding them class/cultural warfare themes. It’s actually quite brilliant, how they get people who they do absolutely nothing for to continue to support them.

  8. Darren –

    I just finished my master’s at Tulane. I was covered under my father’s policy as an undergrad, but when I returned for my master’s I was charged for health insurance until I could prove I was covered by a private policy.

    Like you, we have the option of free clinic visits on campus for minor issues. For major things, we were fortunate enough to have Tulane Medical Center.

    I guess universities now a days are realizing some policies don’t cover college age students which is why they offer the insurance.

    After graduation, there are simple basic healthcare plans available. As I remember, I used Golden Rule for a policy until I was able to enroll in an employer plan.

    As for small businesses not being able to afford insurance for their employees Ryan, that is true. Depending on the number of employees and the ages, the experience rating could possibly make it too expensive. There are options, however. Businesses are able to pool if they belong to certain organizations, such as LABI, to access a greater pool of employees and lower costs. Another is to “lease” employees and use a payroll company which can also offer benefits. This options also allows the pooling of employees, creating a larger number of subscribers and offering an opportunity to lower costs. The problem here is you can’t cross state lines in most instances.

    1. I don’t think the two examples given LABI and temp agencies are a good example.

      LABI has for decades been the driving force behind preventing any legislation that would provide employees with health care, fair wages, unemployment benefits, or for that matter just about anything that would put Louisiana workers on par with people in the rest of the country. LABI is possibly the single most destructive and corrupting influence in politics and governance in Louisiana. Their mission is to do everything possible to increase profitability for businesses especially at the expense of workers, tax payers, and the environment.

      As for temp agencies or payroll companies as Rhonda refers to them, the sole reason employers use such firms is so that they can exploit a loophole that allows them to fill their labor needs while not paying a fair wage, not offering retirement or pensions, not having to pay FICA or Social Security, or Worker’s Comp, or to provide health care, or educational benefits, or to even ensure worker safety.

      These payroll companies are just yet another way companies can pad their bottom lines while cheating hard workers. They can then pass on the cost of those workers’ retirements, health care, training, everything to the tax payers who get stuck unfairly footing the bill because some company wanted to benefit from the labors of a local worker without paying for it.

  9. Gotta love Oyster’s take on this (from the right hand thief):

    “Most troubling is how the Obama Youth just fall in line with these creeping fascist socialist totalitarianist plans. For example, the other day a young lady interrupted a meeting of patriots in Pineville who were denouncing the prospect of government involvement in a sector of the economy already suffused with government involvement. The lady made the mistake of wearing an Obama shirt and being a college student. She was advised by the crowd to “get a job” or “go to war” if she wanted health insurance. Damn straight.”

  10. Drew –

    LABI has been a supporter of the Quality Jobs program in Louisiana. That program requires employers to provide healthcare benefits and wages at 1.5 and 2 times the minimum wage. As someone who lobbies economic development issues, we have not seen them oppose bills to provide healthcare benefits to employers.

    As for PEOs – professional employment organizations – these are not temp agencies. These organizations are companies like ADP, IBM which now has an entire group centered solely on human resource management. These companies all pay unemployment benefits, depending on the company utilitizing their services, provide healthcare, are required to withhold FICA, medicare and all other related taxes. They are not temp agencies.

    There are several companies in Alexandria that use them and are able to provide healthcare simply because they have become part of a larger pool. From my own experience I know of companies here in Alexandria as well as across south Louisiana using PEOs and providing real benefits to their employees – this inlcudes healthcare and retirement.

    Companies who utilize these services are paying for the benefits, not the taxpayers.

  11. An impressive share! I’ve just forwarded this onto a friend who was doing a little research on this.

    And he actually ordered me dinner due to the fact that
    I discovered it for him… lol. So allow me to reword this….
    Thank YOU for the meal!! But yeah, thanks for spending some
    time to talk about this matter here on your website.

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