On The Daily Show, Chris Christie claimed there was a difference between disaster relief and setting up the health insurance exchange. Jon Stewart replied, ‘If you have cancer and don’t have health insurance, that’s Hurricane Sandy.’
Here is the video from The Daily Show:
Christie said that he vetoed the health insurance exchange because he wasn’t sure how much it would cost his state. Stewart pointed out that the government didn’t stonewall Christie on disaster relief by asking for all the details first. Gov. Christie replied, “The difference is that here we have people in New Jersey who are in a crisis situation that could not be anticipated.From my perspective the federal government’s always stood up for that proposition; whether it’s Katrina, Ike, Gustav, they’ve come forward and done that, so they are not doing anything different here.” Stewart said, “Here is my point, and this is where I part ways with the Republican Party in an enormous way. If you have cancer and don’t have health insurance, that’s Hurricane Sandy.”
Gov. Christie said that not having a state exchange is not the same as not having coverage. Stewart made a broader philosophical observation about the Republican Party, “It always seems to me that for the Republican Party. If it’s not something they need, it’s an entitlement of the forty seven percent that are sucking things out of the government. But when they need it, there’s all the reasons in the world it should be there to the tune of thirty billion dollars.”
Christie said that he was representing all of New Jersey, while dancing around the idea of priorities. Stewart expanded on his point, “The philosophy that I always seem to see from them is things that other people need are entitlements. Things that they need are things that should be done quickly and immediately…They have empathy for things that affect them, but have a hard time seeing the picture that other people are suffering.”
Chris Christie dodged Stewart’s point that Republicans appear to have an inconsistent set of priorities. The Republicans are all about the federal government when they need something. The federal government is bad when they try to extend healthcare coverage. How would Christie like it if the federal government told New Jersey that no disaster relief would be released until the exact cost was known?
Christie didn’t see to want to tell Stewart the truth. Last month the Koch Brothers warned him not to set up the health insurance exchange. His veto had everything to do with trying to get back into the good graces of the right wing billionaires who will be critical to his 2016 presidential campaign. Christie doesn’t want his “brand” tarnished by working with the Obama administration on the health insurance exchanges. That’s what this is really about.
The Republican governors who are taking an ideological stand against these exchanges are hurting the people of their states. I believe that the state/federal partnership option would be the most effective. States should at least have a hand in running these programs, because local and state governments understand the needs of their residents and are in the best position to efficiently run these exchanges.
When Republican governors put partisan politics or presidential aspirations ahead of doing what’s right for their states, the result is a muddled and inconsistent philosophy like Republican Chris Christie.
Jon Stewart was right. For the uninsured who are dying everyday, their illness is their Sandy. Chris Christie doesn’t want to say this, but he’d rather be president than help the uninsured get the best care possible.