Photo: Obama ad
An Obama support group has unleashed a brutal attack ad that effectively blames Mitt Romney and Bain Capital for the death of the wife of a steel-worker. (Watch it here.)The steelworker was canned and lost his health insurance after Bain took over his steel company. The man got a new job that only paid half the salary of his prior job and didn’t come with health insurance. The man and his wife, the ad implies, could no longer afford routine check-ups or even doctors’ visits when they felt vaguely sick. The wife was later diagnosed with stage-four cancer, and, by then, there was nothing that could be done.
The implication of the ad is that the man’s wife died because he lost the health insurance that came with the job he had before Bain Capital fired him.
The Romney campaign immediately blasted the ad, calling it “dishonest” and tried to change the subject back to Romney’s talking points, which are that the U.S. economy is still weak.
And that’s an understandable response. (What else can they say?)
But for those who want to go deeper than campaign tactics, it seems reasonable to ask Mitt Romney what he actually thinks about this issue.
This particular case may be misleading: The man’s wife might have died just as quickly if she had had access to all the healthcare in the world.
But there’s no question that Americans who can afford health insurance, check-ups, and other basic non-emergency medical attention have more access to healthcare than Americans who can’t.
And there’s no question that check-ups and other non-emergency healthcare services can help people be healthier and live longer, as well as catch life-threatening diseases earlier.
And there’s no question that, in our system, workers who are “downsized” from jobs that include health insurance often have to take jobs that don’t have health insurance and, therefore, can no longer afford basic preventative healthcare.
So, what is Mitt Romney’s attitude toward that?
What does he think this particular man (and others like him) should do?
Work harder to get a better job that comes with health insurance?
Have more savings?
Have more ambition and gumption?
Taken more personal responsibility for themselves? (If so, how?)
And beyond healthcare and health insurance, what does Mitt Romney think the country’s approach to all “downsized” workers should be? Should the government help them at all? Or should we just be the country of “rugged individualists” that we all want to imagine that we are and just say, effectively, “tough luck, buddy,” to everyone in similar circumstances?
To be clear: Companies have to downsize sometimes. And employment should never be guaranteed.
But this seems like a case in which the government might be in a position to help some Americans–in a way in which, as a civilized society, we might want the government to help.
So, it would be interesting to hear a direct response about this issue from Mitt Romney.
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