Representative Lynn "Great White Hope" Jenkins (R-Kansas) laughed at a single mother at a town hall meeting about healthcare a few weeks ago. Here's how the conversation went:
Constituent: I’m a 27 year-old single mother. I work full-time. I do not have health insurance. My employer does not provide health insurance to me and I cannot afford it privately. So my question is, why shouldn’t my government guarantee all of its citizens health care?
Rep. Jenkins: Thank you. I’m sorry, maybe you missed my opening remarks, but absolutely. That’s why we have Medicaid in the current system and that’s why under the alternative proposal we have an option for low-to-modest-income people to be able to afford health care and then we’ve got the SCHIP program for children. So I think we’ve got all of the bases covered.
No, we don't. If this constituent and her child were eligible for Medicaid and SCHIP, they'd be on it. How patronizing of Representative Jenkins to dismiss this woman's concerns for her and her family's healthcare access. This is a reality for millions of Americans. Audience members informed Representative Jenkins that not everyone is covered under these programs, and the conversation continued.
Representative Jenkins: OK, if you’re not then you’re the perfect example for why we've got to have reform and why we've got to do it now but we have to do it right and if we can do an alternative proposal, as I’m suggesting, give you the money to go buy it in a reformed marketplace where it is affordable, that’s my preference rather than to saddle the nation with yet another government program when they can’t afford the government run programs we have.
Constituent: I want an option that I can pay for. I work. I pay my bills. I’m not a burden on the state. I pay my taxes. So why can’t I get an affordable option. Why are you against that?
Representative Jenkins: A government run program (laugh) is going to subsidize not only yours but (laughs) everyone's in this room. So I’m not sure what we’re talking about here.
But Representative Jenkins knows exactly what this constituent is talking about. As a member of Congress, she already gets healthcare that is subsidized by the American people! That's what we're all talking about, you idiot. Later, Representative Jenkins calls getting a government handout of thousands of dollars a year to buy health insurance in the private market "being a grown up." Did she not listen to this constituent at all? She isn't a "burden on the state," and she doesn't want to be. She wants to be a self-sufficient grown up and have affordable and reliable health insurance for her and her family. Put on your listening ears, stop laughing at hard-working women, and stop claiming ignorance, Representative Jenkins. It's so not funny!