There seems to be an ongoing competition among White House staff over who can deliver and repeat the biggest policy whoppers with few, if any, consequences.
White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney is quickly jumping to the head of the pack, saying this week that the performance of school kids isn’t improved by feeding them, and eliminating the Community Development Block Grant is “one of the most compassionate things we can do.”
Appearing on CBS’ Face the Nation on Sunday, he topped both of those statements by claiming—with a straight face—that “the only way to get truly universal care is to throw people in jail if they don’t have it.” He followed that claim, The Hill reports, with a bit of “Trumpian compassion,” by adding, “We’re not going to do that.”
Oh, well thank you.
As I write this, I’m sitting in the capital of Costa Rica, a country that has had universal health care coverage since the 1940s, just like the United Kingdom, and several other countries that set up similar systems following World War II. Japan and Canada started universal health care coverage programs in the 1960s.
I know of no instances where Costa Rican authorities—or anyone else, for that matter—have tossed a single person in lockup to ensure that they remain…healthy?
The consequences of universal health care plans are as follows: Of the world’s countries, according to the World Health Organization, Japan ranks first in terms of life expectancy for both men and women; Canada ranks 12th; the U.K. ranks 20th; and Costa Rica ranks 30th, just ahead of—you guessed it—the United States.
Advocates have been fighting for universal health care in the U.S. since the early 1900s. Throughout the decades, those efforts were bitterly opposed by the American Medical Association, Republicans, and other interest groups who often succeeded in smearing reformers as communists.
In the early 1990s, Hillary Clinton again fought for sweeping health care reform, including near-universal care, but she was bitterly attacked by Republicans and the insurance lobby, among others.
Mulvaney’s comments on Sunday are the latest in a long trajectory of misinformation about government-managed health care designed to spread fear and promote support of the Republicans’ shameful attempt to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Yet the Republican plan, aptly referred to as Trumpcare, would leave tens of millions of people without any type of coverage, and it would hurt those who most need affordable access to health services and care. Talking about jailing people to counter those who think everyone has a right to health care is simply outrageous.
Watch the exchange: