Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Another Reason to Love Keith Olbermann

This story starts with Bethany Wilkerson, a two-year-old who appeared in a pro-SCHIP ad by True Majority Action. See, Bethany's parents make a combined $34,000 a year. Bethany was diagnosed with a serious heart condition when she was 3 months old. Her parents can't afford health insurance, and SCHIP paid for Bethany's life-saving surgery. Yay for SCHIP, right? Not according to Mark Hemingway of the National Review Online:

"While the debate around the Frost family at least initially centered around their relative wealth, the issue really at hand is one of bad behavior . . . . On the conference call, Dara admitted to me that she and Brian had been talking about having children since before they were married. She further admitted that after they were married she voluntarily left a job at a country club that had good health insurance, because the situation was “unmanageable.” From there she took a job at a restaurant with no health insurance, and the couple went on to have a baby anyway, presuming that others would pay for it and certainly long before they knew their daughter would have a heart defect that probably cost the gross national product of Burkina Faso . . . . I think it’s rude to accept huge amounts of public assistance and then express gratitude by asking taxpayers to extend a Children’s health program to cover college-age kids who come from households making more than $80,000 a year. Which brings us to another salient point — Bethany Wilkerson is healthy. She is covered by existing programs and has already received the much of the medical care she needs."

Did you take that all in? I'm not even going to get into one of the inconsistencies of his argument -- if a life-saving procedure costs the GNP of Burkina Faso, wouldn't it cost more than $80,000? I think it would. Or that Bethany is healthy but only has received much of the medical care she needs (or did she receive the medical care she needs. Looks like Hemingway changed his mind in the middle of typing that sentence but forgot to go back and correct it). Or that Mrs. Wilkerson voluntary left her unmanageable job. The bigger inconsistency is the fact that Hemingway calls the Wilkersons irresponsible for having a baby, while the right-wing fringe uses that exact reasoning for being anti-choice. Which brings me to another reason to love Keith Olbermann. From Tuesday night's show:

Keith Olbermann: Why does a group of people proclaiming themselves to be pro-life see no barrier to preserving the life of fetuses or Terri Schiavo, but when it's actual people who are already up and running, kids like Bethany and Graeme Frost, they literally want them -- in Graeme Frost's case somebody called for a public hanging -- and this little girl's case, the argument was that they didn't have sufficient medial insurance so she should never have been conceived. Is there any straight line in there?

What a great question. That's what I'd like to know. Watch the video if you want the answer given by Paul Krugman of The New York Times (at around the 3:30 mark).

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