Former Vermont Governor Howard Dean has been going around championing the Obama administration health care bill. Monday evening he was on Rachel Maddow’s show on MSNBC when he said this:
When I was growing up in this country, Republicans and Democrats could actually sit down and have a sane conversation. You might not agree but you could get stuff done. This Republican party—this shrinking Republican party—is just determined to undermine President Obama. And unfortunately, you have to undermine the country in order to undermine the president. I think that’s too bad.
Considering Howard Dean was part of the dissent is patriotic crowd during the Bush Administration I find this hypocrisy amusing. So really the only voice that is patriotic is the one that agrees with President Obama? Well Dr. Dean, since you are all in on this health care package, a question for you.
Congressman Phil Gingrey, M.D. (R-GA) wrote in an op-ed in May:
As Vermont’s governor, Dean aggressively pursued expansions of government-run health insurance —and bragged that doing so "was very cheap to do." Unfortunately for beneficiaries on state-run Medicaid and children’s health insurance, that "cheap" coverage often came at a very steep price. Low reimbursement rates mean that few doctors actually participate in the government-run plan, so patients can’t see their personal physician—and may not be able to see any physician when they need one.
In Vermont, one of those physicians whom Medicaid beneficiaries couldn’t visit was Judith Steinberg—Howard Dean’s wife. In 1998, low reimbursement rates—coupled with the impact of additional regulations her husband signed into law—prompted Dr. Steinberg to end participation in the state’s largest Medicaid-managed care program. As a result, the residents of Shelburne in Vermont’s largest Medicaid plan lost access to the only primary care provider in town who would accept their insurance.
If a public option is so great, and Medicaid is the example pointed to often… why did your wife end participation? Was that patriotic? Congressman Gingrey contines:
I don’t fault Dr. Steinberg for her decision—it may well have been the only rational business decision for her to make. But for Governor Dean to claim that a government-run plan won’t be "inferior" is to ignore his wife’s experience, and that of the many beneficiaries who lost access to their physician due to Medicaid bureaucracy and poor coverage. My fear is that creating a government-run health insurance plan wouldn’t guarantee quality care by physicians—in fact, it will not guarantee care at all.
Don’t you think, Dr. Dean, that other physicians might face the same choice your own wife had to face if confronted with the public option?
Just asking… I don’t mean to be unpatriotic.
HT: Newsbusters (for Dean’s MSNBC video)