GOP Congressman Mo Brooks Thinks My Dad Deserves To Die

pre-existing conditions

What is our nation becoming?

Healthcare is a shit-show these days. It's such a shit-show that calling it a shit-show is actually a pretty bipartisan statement to make. 

Conservative Republicans who hate the ACA, otherwise known as the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare, think it's a shit-show for financial reasons. Liberal Democrats (like yours truly) are panicked knowing that Donald Trump and Paul Ryan are out to end the ACA with no plan to replace it. This would leave so many families without insurance, and to my way of thinking, staying alive in a civilized society where there is medical treatment available should be a basic human right. 

Sadly, not everyone agrees.

Today (Thursday, May 4th), the GOP's second plan for healthcare (I will not call it Trumpcare, because FUDGE that noise) made its way to the House floor and was passed. 

Under the proposed bill, if you have a pre-existing condition you are royally screwed. I was hoping some Republicans in the House had the sense to see that royally screwing their constituents is a terrible idea, but I was wrong. 


You know who doesn't feel this way? Mo Brooks, a congressman from Alabama. In an interview on CNN with Jack Tapper, Brooks shared his medieval, moralistic, and deadly take on the proposed bill almost too eagerly. Here's what he had to say:

“My understanding is that (the new proposal) will allow insurance companies to require people who have higher health care costs to contribute more to the insurance pool. That helps offset all these costs, thereby reducing the cost to those people who lead good lives, they’re healthy, they’ve done the things to keep their bodies healthy. And right now, those are the people — who’ve done things the right way — that are seeing their costs skyrocketing.”

Yeah. An elected official just said that if you have a stroke or were born with a heart defect or condition it's probably because you don't "live a good life," and only people who live good lives are entitled to the right to keep actually, you know, living them. 

Here's his full interview (skip to around the 3-minute mark):

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Brooks realized that this was, uh, an insanely dickish thing to say and tried to backpedal, but the words were already out there.

Brooks can try to take them back until the cows come home, but the truth is he simply expressed a point of view that many people in the country believe: Only bad people who lead bad lives deserve access to healthcare. 

My father has cerebral palsy. You know what that is? It's an umbrella term for the birth defects that can be caused when a child is deprived oxygen during birth. My father's speech is severely slurred. He does not walk in the way most people walk. He has uncontrollable muscle spasms that make things like writing, talking, and breathing difficult. 

You know what else cerebral palsy is? It's a pre-existing condition.

My father is a Catholic priest. He went to Princeton and Keeble College, Oxford. He is a professor. He is a counselor. He has spent his life in service to other people. That's about as good a life as a person could live, but if politicians like Mo Brooks are to be believed, my father's life is not worthy enough to be sustained. 

And you know what? I know Brooks wasn't talking about my dad. Brooks was talking about people with HIV/AIDS and people who are trans. He was saying that people with different beliefs than his own don't live good lives and thus deserve death.

AIDS doesn't mean you're a bad person. It means you have AIDS. Being trans doesn't mean you are a bad person. It means you are trans. That is it. End of sentence. 

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I would almost respect all of these politicians more if they were overtly honest about their intentions: They want to save money. They don't like to pay for things. I can understand being cheap. What I can't understand is lying about being cheap because you think it's more responsible to proudly announce on TV that you think you have the right to weigh and measure a person's life and decide whether or not they should be allowed to keep living it. 

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Obamacare has problems. I have never said it didn't. Whether or not you agree with me that access to affordable healthcare is a human right is beside the point. Can we at least agree that politicians should not be allowed to sentence people to death for some perceived moral failure that doesn't exist?