Michele Bachmann seems to be having a bad go of it this week. First she high-tails it down a corridor as a CNN reporter "harasses" her, making her answer for the accusations made at CPAC (how dare someone ask her about things she said all those days ago!). It's getting to where a politician can't inflate their ego with a good Pinocchio-esque speech that serves no other purpose other than division and base-playing. I mean, it's not like politicians (like Bachmann) ever use hyperbole or nonsensical phrases to scare their constituents, right?
Perhaps someone should have told Bachmann that before she took to the House floor last week as she denounced Obamacare (as it entered its third year and thirty-something unsuccessful repeal attempt). As she spoke out (again) against the law that protects low income Americans and people with pre-existing conditions, Bachmann said Obamacare apparently "literally" kills:
That’s why we’re here because we’re saying let’s repeal this failure before it literally kills women, kills children, kills senior citizens. Let’s not do that. Let’s love people, let’s care about people. Let’s repeal it now while we can.
I have an image of some physical representation of Obamacare - like a rolled up piece of paper with a medical logo on it - wielding a weapon in the shadows waiting for unsuspecting grandmothers and children to pass. Otherwise, I doubt a piece of legislation "literally" kills (nor do I think it even "figuratively" kills, for that matter).
According to the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Obamacare has extended the reach of vital health programs to 34.1 million people across the nation (many of which did not qualify for either program prior to the expansions embedded in the ACA legislation). Additionally, millions of young adults who would have otherwise fallen off their parents' coverage now have medical insurance later into adulthood thanks to Obamacare. Besides covering millions more people in providing access to coverage, Obamacare has also saved senior citizens over $6 billion on prescription drugs according to the Department of Health and Human Services. For being legislation that's supposedly knocking people off like a character from the Sopranos, Obamacare seems to be helping a good number of people who were previously priced out of the health care system.
Not willing to stop while she was behind, Bachmann went on later that same day and opened her mouth again, arguing that Medicaid is a ghetto. "Here’s the one that no American wants to be in. It’s the Medicaid ghetto," she said. "And that’s where the lowest possible care, where very few doctors will be available available to offer this kind of care." While Medicaid (like any other program) has its share of problems that need addressing, it is by no means a "ghetto" program. In fact, it's just the opposite: it's a saving grace for low income families that may have no other access to the health care system. I should know - I grew up in a low income family and was a Medicaid child through adulthood when I left home for college. The program literally saved my life when I needed emergency operations (like my appendix nearly exploding) as well as the lives of my three siblings.
Don't take my word for it though - a November 2012 Government Accountability Office (GAO) study found that, since 2008, Medicaid has provided comparable access to health care providers as private insurance. In fact, in 2008-2009, "...less than 4 percent of beneficiaries who had Medicaid coverage for a full year reported difficulty obtaining medical care, which was similar to individuals with full-year private insurance." In their analysis of the full GAO report, ThinkProgress said, "The fact that Medicaid beneficiaries are self-reporting satisfaction with their coverage at the same rates as private insurance subscribers suggests that the program is working well — at least in states where it is well-funded. Safety net programs tend to enjoy high levels of satisfaction in general, with Medicare beating out private insurance with a 92 percent approval rating."
Of course, Bachmann may have meant something completely different by her Medicaid comments - especially since it's a program meant for those with low incomes. It just goes to show how out of touch Bachmann and many other Republicans are with mainstream America. Even some Republicans agree - such as Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX) when he observed that Bachmann “has a way of stating these things that none of us are capable of.” Here's the video of her initial statements on the House floor: