President Trump’s budget director, Mick Mulvaney, specifically called out people with diabetes as a group of Americans who do not deserve health care.
ShareBlue reports, “Mulvaney weighed in on the issue at the Light Forum at Stanford University. He was asked if families should be denied medical care because they can’t afford it, a standard Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) had termed “the Jimmy Kimmel test,” after the late night comedian’s recent emotional call for improved health care.
Mulvaney said he believed in helping to provide “a safety net so that if you get cancer you don’t end up broke,” but separated those situations from others he termed “ordinary healthcare,” what he described as the heart of the debate.
He continued, “That doesn’t mean we should take care of the person who sits at home, eats poorly and gets diabetes. Is that the same thing as Jimmy Kimmel’s kid? I don’t think that it is.””
Almost immediately after Mulvaney’s comment, the American Diabetes Association issued a statement:
On behalf of the nearly 30 million Americans living with diabetes, the American Diabetes Association is extremely disappointed by the misinformed statement of Mick Mulvaney, director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, as reported by The Washington Examiner. Mr. Mulvaney’s comments perpetuate the stigma that one chooses to have diabetes based on his/her lifestyle. We are also deeply troubled by his assertion that access to health care should be rationed or denied to anyone.
Huffington Post’s Jonathan Cohn, pointed out that it’s not the first time a Republican has said something along the lines of Mulvaney’s comments. A few weeks ago Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) said that the AHCA would benefit people who “have done the things to keep their bodies healthy … who have done things the right way.”
I’ve already written about the topic of pre-existing conditions, which is at the heart of the current congressional health care debate. The latest change to the GOP’s bill, called the MacArthur amendment after its author, Republican House member Tom MacArthur, would allow states to opt out of several key Obamacare insurance regulations that protect people with pre-existing conditions.
In my daughter’s case (she got type 1 diabetes when she was six years old), at least, Republicans have a valid point. The first five years her life were filled with boozing, smoking, street fights, back alley dice games, some cock fighting and gosh knows what else. So no wonder she’s been saddled with type 1 diabetes since early childhood.
A pre-existing condition is rarely a result of negligent behavior. And even if it is, that’s not a reason to deny a person health care. Humans make mistakes. As a society it is our job to help people heal, not cause more suffering.
And as the American Diabetes Association’s statement said, All of the scientific evidence indicates that diabetes develops from a diverse set of risk factors, genetics being a primary cause. People with diabetes need access to affordable health care in order to effectively manage their disease and prevent dangerous and costly complications. Nobody should be denied coverage or charged more based on their health status.
So, tell me, Republicans, does my daughter not deserve affordable insulin? What about people with pre diabetes? Should we be helping them? And will there be a BMI Over 20 Don’t Save ‘Em Policy in your bill? It’s a relief to me to know that Mulvaney considers Jimmy Kimmel’s infant son deserving of health care. That should be extended to all Americans. No one chooses illness.