Joe Scarborough and the other members of the ad hoc Starbucks marketing team known as Morning Joe hosted Sens. Tom Coburn and John Barrasso Tuesday to discuss their opposition to the current health care reform proposals wending their way through Congress. It was about as relevant as you can imagine! Coburn ignores the massive popularity of the public option in asserting that Americans don't want government involvement in health care. He gives us the same boilerplate about how government bureaucracies would not improve the terrible bureaucracies already extant in private health care, showing a naive trust in "market transparency" for an industry that's quietly shoveling money at these same lawmakers, beseeching them to delay or defeat the measure.
Really, there's only so much you can do, interviewing two Senate Republicans. Right now, the obstacles to health care reform are all internecine, Democratic party obstacles, so the Senate minority isn't really even relevant to the discussion. Nevertheless! I really appreciate Joe Scarborough for putting this question out there:
SCARBOROUGH: Back in the '90s, everybody was wearing these "What Would Jesus Do" wrist bands. I wonder, what would Jesus think about walking in to any emergency room in any urban center at 11:00 or 12:00 at night and seeing all of these moms bringing their children from poor families who don't have health care having to use emergency rooms as their primary care. Is that a moral system? Is there a better way to do it? How do we do it? We can't just say no, can we?
COBURN: No, and we shouldn't. We're not. and we're not doing it, Joe, First of all, 90 percent of those moms with kids are eligible for S/Chip and we've done a lousy job signing them up. we ought to have auto enrollment. The option, since they are not signed up, they're not aware of the benefits of the program is they show up at the emergency room. It's a terrible place to practice medicine. There's no continuity, you don't know your patient. What we ought to be doing, we have several programs today, let's make it work. That's the other things Americans are wanting. Don't change and take away the best health care system in the world, improve it. Don't spend my grandkids' money running it through the government when you can, in fact, work it better by getting greater value from what we're doing today.
Coburn's careful dodge of the underlying question notwithstanding, I think it's great that Scarborough is willing to pose these sorts of questions. He should expand this line of thinking to an examination of how infected the debate is with industry dollars, because I think Scarborough will come face to face with the well-known "God and Mammon" axiom.
Also of note, Coburn and Barrasso have some internet show called, "The Senate Doctors," which I imagine to be a steamy, soapy doctor show, like Grey's Anatomy. On this week's episode, Coburn and Barrasso help Mark S. with his scorching case of "wandering penis" by performing an exorcism at the C Street House.
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