Editor’s Note: This post first appeared at WashingtonPost.com.
With a firm renunciation of reason sitting in your corner, it makes perfect sense to argue, as Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli does, that his state’s anti-Obamacare lawsuit is “more about liberty than it is about health care.”
It is the quintessence of callousness for Cuccinelli and others like him to pit an academic definition of freedom against the well-being of the 1 million (or 15.1 percent) non-elderly Virginians who don’t have health insurance. Read in The Post about reporter Mary Otto’s visit to a free clinic run by Remote Area Medical Volunteer Corps, a Knoxville-based organization that provides free medical, dental, and veterinary care to rural and impoverished areas, which vividly illustrates the plight of the state’s uninsured.
What makes Cuccinelli’s argument even more offensive, though, is that the “freedom” line of reasoning is mere smokescreen for an entirely political effort. In other words, both lawsuits aren’t about serving the liberty of Virginia and Florida residents; as Bloomberg News columnist Ann Woolner writes, the health-care torts are Republican efforts to derail reform.
“It’s about politics,” Woolner argues. “It’s so obviously about politics that most folks take that fact for granted. These cases are another way for Republicans to try to defeat a Democratic initiative and score points while doing it.” The frightening thing here is not that Republicans are so hell-bent on denying basic health care to fellow citizens. Rather, it’s that Woolner is able to write, matter-of-factly, that most people see the politicization of health care as something to take for granted. Woolner continues, “[N]otice that 18 of the 20 attorneys general suing in Florida are Republicans. In my home state, Georgia, the Democratic attorney general refused to join the list, so the Republican governor appointed a special attorney general who would.”
Rather than abusing the freedom of a political party to behave pitilessly, the attorneys general who are attacking America’s uninsured ought to think about who really benefits from the politicization of well-being.