02 September, 2009

Rep. Jenkins to Working Mom: "Go be a Grownup"

If this isn't a "macaca" moment, I don't know what is:
Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R) of Kansas has, all of a sudden, started making quite a name for herself. Last week, the far-right lawmaker said she hopes to see a "great white hope" step up to defeat President Obama and congressional Democrats. Now a clip is making the rounds with Jenkins sharing her thoughts on the plight of the uninsured.

In this clip, taken at a July town hall meeting, Jenkins is confronted by a constituent named Elizabeth Smith -- a full-time waitress with two young kids. Smith's employer doesn't provide insurance, and she can't afford private coverage. Smith's not looking for a handout; she's looking for an affordable choice.

"I want an option that I can pay for," Smith told her representative. "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 responds, literally chuckling at the question, "A government-run program is going to subsidize not only yours but everybody in this room. So I'm not sure what we're talking about here."

Jenkins went on to tell Smith that "people should be given the opportunity to take care of themselves with a refund, or an advanceable [sic] tax credit, to go be a grown-up and go buy the insurance."

"Be a grown-up"? The taxpaying constituent Jenkins was blithely dismissing works full time and takes care of two young kids. She is a "grown-up." Indeed, tens of millions of Americans are lacking coverage -- some due to pre-existing conditions, some because their insurers dropped them through rescission, some because they can't afford it -- and it's not because they haven't "grown up."

That's bad enough. You don't tell a woman with a steady job raising two children to "grow up" because she wants affordable health care. This is not some nitwit screaming about Nazis. But in Lynn Jenkins' world, if you work full time to support your family but can't afford the health care that she needs to "go be a grown up."

And if you think that's inane, check out the transcript. Here's Lynn Jenkins in all her infinite wisdom:

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.

Apparently, Ms. Jenkins has never experienced the reality of making a few dollars too many to qualify for Medicaid and SCHIP. Indeed, the bases aren't covered.

And that, my darlings, is the Con attitude toward working people in a nutshell. It tells you everything you need to know about their attitude toward health care reform.

Methinks they should go sit in the corner playing with their failed philosophies while the grownups handle health care reform.

1 comment:

Cujo359 said...

I really think Jenkins is someone who just doesn't consider the effect what she says will have on others. By Republican/libertarian logic, being able to choose one's own insurance provider is the government letting you make your own decisions, like grownups get to do (again, by their logic), as opposed to having the government "take care" of you.

Could be wrong, of course. I'm really not good at putting myself in the place of politicians, particularly conservative ones, but that's what I think is really going on here. Personally, I find this attitude of Republicans' to be a crock, because it's basically an excuse to let insurance companies and various other pirates get away with what they've been getting away with. But I don't think it's condescension.