Paul Krugman wrote today about the “Let Him Die” caucus in the modern GOP, and what it signified:
The incident highlighted something that I don’t think most political commentators have fully absorbed: at this point, American politics is fundamentally about different moral visions [...]
…very few of those who die from lack of medical care look like Mr. Blitzer’s hypothetical individual who could and should have bought insurance. In reality, most uninsured Americans either have low incomes and cannot afford insurance, or are rejected by insurers because they have chronic conditions.
So would people on the right be willing to let those who are uninsured through no fault of their own die from lack of care? The answer, based on recent history, is a resounding “Yeah!”
And there’s an example above, in a powerful video from MoveOn.org, where Susan Grigsby of Twenty Nine Palms, California, recounts the story of her brother dying of cancer while lacking insurance. The interesting part is that the story came out of a diary at Daily Kos that Susan wrote under the moniker Susan from 29:
I was holding his hand as he drew his last breath. Have you ever seen a man die, you bastards? His fingertips turn grey, his breathing becomes shallow. His grip weakens. And he simply stops breathing.
And all of the laughter and love goes away with that last breath. The intelligence, the creative beauty, the caring compassion. They all disappear. But that probably wouldn’t matter to you since I doubt you would recognize any of it.
Love, compassion, beauty. Laughter, intelligence. And the ability to realize a dream. A dream that never included cruelty or indifference to the suffering of others.
And here, I’m told that writing on the Internet can never make a difference.
As Susan says in the video, her real scorn was reserved for the candidates on stage who want to be President saying nothing when a crowd cheered on the notion of allowing people to die, essentially because of their financial status.
The other thing that strikes me is that Susan described her brother as 63 years old, uninsured and unemployed, “too young for Medicare.” So if and when we raise the Medicare eligibility age, there will be how many more Steve Patiences out there, caught between the cruelty of the individual marketplace and the security of Medicare? The defenders claim that the Affordable Care Act will pick up the slack here. That remains to be seen. What we know is that people in their 60s who worked all their life and paid into Medicare deserve its benefits.