House Republican Calls People Without Health Insurance Illiterate

House Republican Calls People Without Health Insurance Illiterate


While speaking to the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu’s 2014 challenger, Rep. Bill Cassidy called the uninsured, unsophisticated, and uneducated.

The Hill reported:

Cassidy made the comments last week during his keynote address to the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association….During the event, the congressman criticized the Affordable Care Act, with its involved sign-up process, as being inaccessible for those who need the most help. He referenced his own experience treating the uninsured at community clinics.

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“They’re illiterate,” he said. “I’m not saying that to be mean; I say that in compassion. They cannot read. The idea that they’re going to go on the internet and work through a 16-page document to put in their data and sign up does not reflect an understanding of who is having the hardest time in our economy.”

“That, I think, actually reflects the reality of who the uninsured are: relatively less sophisticated, less comfortable with forms, less educated,” he said.

After Buzzfeed published a recording of his remarks Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu’s challenger quickly tried to backtrack, “It is self-evident to anyone who has worked with the uninsured as I have for decades, that the uninsured come from all segments of society. This includes the more and the less educated. That’s exactly the point I made and make: if we seek to be truly compassionate, our policies must meet people where they are. Obamacare’s one-size-fits-all model lacks this basic measure’ of’ compassion.”

His plan is to automatically enroll the uninsured into health saving accounts. The problem with this idea is that health saving accounts by themselves don’t do anything. It would still be up to the uninsured individual to find the money to buy their own health insurance.

It is the equivalent of setting up a college fund, never depositing any money into it, then when your child turns 18 telling them that they have a college fund, but they are on their own when it comes to paying for school. It is the same non-solution that Republicans have been pushing for decades.

Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) was expected to face a tough reelection fight, but if this is what she is up against, he campaign may not be as difficult as conventional political wisdom suggested. Cassidy’s comments are the perfect example of how Obamacare is double edged sword for Republicans. The huge advantage that they have is the successful demonization of the term Obamacare.

Republicans are treating people who sign up for the ACA with the level of contempt that they have shown the unemployed, the hungry, veterans, and children. Their idea is that the uninsured don’t deserve access to healthcare. It is this contempt for everyone who isn’t rich or them, that cost them elections in 2012 and will do so again in 2014.

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