Brainless Joe Wilson

I seem to remember recently saying “this kind of behavior is not acceptable in any setting.”  When I said it, I was referring to what’s now called the “town-hallers,” or rather the “town brawlers” — the astroturf that were sent in to disrupt healthcare town hall meetings by being loudly, insanely, and incoherently anti-healthcare.  At least, we think that’s what they were shrieking about.

…and now it’s happened in Congress.

Most of the blogs I’ve read on the subject today centered on the batshit-crazy antics of the Republicans, and rightfully so.  My title for this commentary reflects that.

But none of it attacks the real problem.  What caused Wilson to make that squawking noise was the notion, however erroneous, of illegal aliens being covered by a national healthcare system.  Obama had just said it would not happen.  Wilson called Obama a “liar” for saying it would not.  Yes, his behavior was inappropriate.  Yes, he ought to be censured.  But that’s not the point.

The point is that the whole business of illegal aliens receiving free healthcare is redundant.

WTF? you say.  Well, here’s WTF: illegal aliens have already been getting healthcare at taxpayers’ expense in this country for a hell of a long time.  If a national healthcare-reform bill were passed, it would likely not change anything that has already been happening for at least 2 decades.  (I’ll leave aside my own thoughts on this subject, but I do ask that the reader distinguish between “heathcare at taxpayers’ expense” and “public option.”)

Where’s my proof?  I don’t need any.  Just ask your local medical biller, or anyone who works in a hospital emergency room, particularly if that facility is in or near a large city.  S/he will be able to tell you all about it; you won’t need another word on the subject from me.

But if you don’t know anyone like that, here is a plain fact: illegal aliens are here in the millions, and they receive healthcare.  I suspect the larger part of the magnet that brings them all here is jobs, not healthcare.  Nonetheless, they get healthcare in the U.S.  The passage of a healthcare-overhaul bill will do nothing to change that.  It doesn’t even have anything to do with it except that — and this is probably enough to confuse a wingnut — both issues have “health” and “illegal aliens” in their titles.

As for Joe Wilson, I have only one thing to add: the Stupid of the Day Award, for calling attention to himself instead of the issue by attacking what seemed to be the most convenient target — one that turned out not to be very convenient at all — instead of the right one.

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