The Health Care "Debate"

There's a lot to be puzzled about in the "debate" (I hesitate to dignify it with that term) over health care reform: Palin's exploitation of her infant son with her instantly infamous "death panel" comment; the anti-reform protester who was supposedly injured in a scuffle with SEIU members who is taking up a collection to pay his medical bills because he (wait for it) recently lost his job and is uninsured; the anti-reform protester at a townhall meeting in South Carolina who told his conservative congressman to "keep your government hands off my Medicare." But I think this line from an Investors Business Daily editorial in opposition to health care reform may win the prize:

People such as scientist Stephen Hawking wouldnt have a chance in the U.K., where the National Health Service would say the life of this brilliant man, because of his physical handicaps, is essentially worthless.

Can a democracy function at this level of discourse? The mind reels.P.S. The IBD line is so breathtakingly stupid, I initially thought maybe their site had been hacked, but the editorial is still up, so I am assuming it is authentic.UPDATE: I assumed everyone knows this, but a commenter emailed me to suggest that I make it clear for those who do not -- Stephen Hawking was born and has lived his entire life in the U.K. But that's only one of the reasons the IDB quote is stupid.

Eduardo M. Peñalver is the Allan R. Tessler Dean of the Cornell Law School. The views expressed in the piece are his own, and should not be attributed to Cornell University or Cornell Law School.

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