At least he's honest. At a town hall meeting, Rep. Rob Woodall lectured a constituent about Medicare, saying she should simply take care of herself.
A Woodall constituent raised a practical obstacle to obtaining coverage in the private market within the confines of an employer-based health insurance system: What happens when you retire?
"The private corporation that I retired from does not give medical benefits to retirees," the woman told the congressman in video captured a local Patch reporter in Dacula, Ga.
"Hear yourself, ma'am. Hear yourself," Woodall told the woman. "You want the government to take care of you, because your employer decided not to take care of you. My question is, 'When do I decide I'm going to take care of me?'"
Because it's just so easy, don't you know? Think about what this guy is really saying. He's saying that senior citizens should either go bankrupt or without health care unless they're lucky enough to have the money to pay for it. He's assuming everyone would somehow manage to have the means to get necessary care and Medicare is just a crutch!
Also, Rep. Woodall believes that if you want Medicare, you should just head on out of the US and over to Canada or other countries who actually value their citizens' health:
Woodall suggested that the woman concerned about vouchers might find the type of health care system she and her children approve of in Canada or another industrialized nation.
"If you want a socialized health care program, there are lots of places to find that," he said. "But, for your children's sake, I beg you: There aren't many places to find the freedom to succeed by the sweat of your brow like we have here.”
This is the heart of the Medicare debate. It isn't that Republicans want to change Medicare. They want to end it completely. Digby is right:
There's only one answer for Democratic opponents if the Republicans try this:
"So you believe 'em? If they're willing to screw your kids and grandkids what makes you think they aren't going to screw you too?"
This is important rhetoric. Woodall is obviously something of an extremist, but at least he’s presenting the Republican agenda in stark, cold terms. His remarks come at the intersection of candor, callousness, and conservatism — seniors who worked for companies that don’t offer benefits to retirees are out of luck. If they didn’t save enough to cover their own medical bills, they’ll just have to suffer or go to some other country.
Politically, the Republican strategy is emerging. Attack hard enough to get Democrats to agree to deep Medicare cuts, then circle back and attack from the left in 2012 because they agreed to them.
Putting aside the argument over the merits of the GOP and Pelosi policy approaches, the political dynamic here could not be clearer. Dems, you have now been put on notice: If you agree to deep cuts in Medicare in the Biden-led talks, Republicans will see to it that you lose the political advantage you have built up by attacking Ryan’s plan. You may even lose the general advantage you have built up over the generations by positioning yourselves as defenders of signature Democratic policy achievements on entitlements. Don’t say you weren’t warned.
Democrats need to pay attention to that strategy and stand up with strong backbones against ANY Medicare cuts.
It's worth noting that Rep. Woodall enjoys a robust health insurance program as the result of his career employment as a Congressional staffer, and now a Congressman. He would be one of the fortunate few to have post-retirement health insurance at taxpayers' expense. Oh, right. That's "earned by the sweat of his brow." Yeah, right.