What should this conservative have said (re:Daily Show Obamacare story)

Video here, from last Thursday (March 6th).

Aasif Mandvi is doing a story on the Right’s trope that Obamacare will reduce the US health care system from “best in the world” to “3rd world country.” His target is Fox New commentator Todd Wilemon. Here’s the exchange:

As far as gotcha ya!s go, it’s a good one, but it’s not particularly clever – surely conservatives know that there’s a lot of people who don’t have health insurance who rely on charity and/or emergency services (aka, charity). I was expecting something like, “Charity is more efficient than the government, poverty in Tennessee isn’t like poverty in a third-world country, cancer and heart disease aren’t problems unique to the US, and civil war? Nice jab, but come on.” Instead, we get “Poor people choose not to buy health insurance, because they choose to be poor” (paraphrased). Wow.

Was this just a case of the wrong guy at the wrong interview, plus typical Daily Show editing?

A good deal of that. The Daily Show doesn’t tend to interview particularly bright specimens of whatever group they’re making fun of. If they do get a household name, like a Boehner or Obama, Stewart does the interview with kid gloves. Anyone the ‘correspondents’ are interviewing is usually an ignorant blowhard that will give the footage they want, or they’re in on it and joking with the correspondent.

As far as what he should have said, you give a decent response. I imagine he could have thrown in something along the lines of “if poverty is a problem, the solution is not more job-killing legislation like Obamacare!”, which even if it’s baseless, is the usually conservative reply.

Hah! Excellent, I hadn’t even thought of that.

That’s what the conservative proposals that eventually became the ACA were supposed to fix: when people who don’t have health insurance get hurt or sick, the taxpayer pays for it, so if you compel them to buy health insurance, that’s no longer the case. Individual responsibility! But once the ACA came into being, conservatives could no longer say that the socializing of these costs was a problem. See the disconnect? And yes, Mandvi was being clever: conservatives insist that the U.S. has the best health care system in the world, but it really doesn’t - it spends more than anyone else and outcomes aren’t the best. Perhaps for people with a lot of money or great insurance it’s the best system, but that’s not most people. You can look at lots of places in the US (including Knoxville) and see that. He’s addressing two different core anti-ACA arguments: one is that the US has the best health care system in the world and the ACA could detract from that, and the other is that health insurance is not unaffordable or out of reach for a lot of people, they’re just choosing not to buy it, so we don’t need the ACA.

You have have noticed that some conservatives are hellbent on blaming poor people for being poor.

The guy might have said that just because some people can’t afford healthcare, it doesn’t give them the right to force other people to pay for it. And how many of these people have taken steps to improve their condition through education or vocational training . . . rather than whining about their poverty?

Then he would be a dimwit because that’s already what happens if someone without insurance can’t afford health care.

Very few Republicans are honest enough to admit that the Republican health care plan is to let them die - for the reason you mention.

However, none of this has anything to do with the interview. His contention was that the pre-Obamacare healthcare system was the best in the world, and that the described situation is impossible here. At least he was smart enough not to try to ACA for something that started long before ACA. If he said something about them improving their education, he would have had to say something about government support for education. Not likely. Or he’d have to say Americans are dumber than Europeans. Nope.
The honorable thing for him to have done was to discorporate right there out of shame. But if conservatives were honorable there would be hardly anyone left on the air at Fox News.

He could have said “The brown cow jumps over the purple moon” and it would have been improvement.

Another point aside. If Knoxville is recovering from a Civil War then so are many cities throughout the eastern United States.

Knoxville was a very divided city during the war with recruitment centers for both sides operating on the same street.

The whole Civil War mention is a red herring.

Well, of course it’s a red herring…it’s meant to lead the interviewee into thinking “Aha, Third World country.”

… only if he was in favor of that situation or unaware of it.

If he made that statement, it would be obviously he’s unaware of the situation. And since he’s a Congressman and an ACA opponent, that would be very bad.