Dennis Rehberg: Master of the Oblivious

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Bob already mentioned Dennis Rehberg’s interesting position on free trade with Canada from an interview with the Flathead Beacon, but I found this claim to be interesting, as well. Your Representative is exuberant about the level of health care in the United States:

He went on to describe the U.S. health care system as “the best in the world,” noting the advances made in the areas of research and technology, as well as patients’ ability to choose their medical provider. The problem, Rehberg acknowledged, is “it’s getting harder and harder for people to afford.”

A little known fact is that the precise reason why America’s health care is not the best in the world is because so many people can’t afford it. If every American had access to Representative Rehberg’s level of free, government-provided health care his claim might be true, but when 45-50 million Americans lack health insurance, it seems unlikely that our system is the best in the world. In fact, we’re 37th in the world. according to the WHO.

The New York Times explains it best:

Many Americans are under the delusion that we have “the best health care system in the world,” as President Bush sees it, or provide the “best medical care in the world,” as Rudolph Giuliani declared last week. That may be true at many top medical centers. But the disturbing truth is that this country lags well behind other advanced nations in delivering timely and effective care.

So, do we dismiss this as another harmless rhetorical excess by a politician? No, that would be too easy. It matters when Representative Rehberg believes, or pretends to, that all Americans have access to the excellent care he receives. It leads him to claim that reducing “onerous, duplicative paperwork” is one of the most important health care issues facing the nation, rather the the staggering number of Americans who lack access to reasonably priced medical care.

About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is a seventeen-year teacher of English, former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.

His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.

In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.

5 Comments

  • The American system has its merits though and the debate about healthcare is fundamentally a question of public vs. private.

    It should be fair to note that many Democrats also go around touting the strength of the American system and suggest that we only need to tweak the system to make it more accessible. As the self-anointed advocates for change, I think their rhetoric is also dangerous to the success of meaningful reform.

    Still doesn’t excuse Rehberg though 🙂

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