Neither political party is void of hypocrisy, but the Republicans have it down to a science. (Oops – bad choice of words – Republicans eschew science, but you know what I mean!)
Some of this hypocrisy is rooted in the language they use. The right wing’s twisting of words took root in the Reagan era when the term “Compassionate Conservative” became part of the political lexicon. The party that wants to keep tens of millions of Americans from having even the most basic health care is hardly compassionate, and the party that has catapulted the national debt into the stratosphere is hardly conservative.
Now, meet the new poster child of Republican hypocrisy – Congressman-Elect and physician Andy Harris of Maryland. His campaign was based on a single issue – repeal of the Affordable Care Act. Harris’s campaign web site states, “the answer to the ever-rising cost of insurance is not the expansion of government-run or government-mandated insurance.”
At this week’s freshman orientation for new members of Congress, Harris was surprised to find out that his new government-funded health insurance policy, like many private policies, had a short waiting period (less than 30 days) before it took effect. Unlike many private insurance policies, Harris’ new policy won’t cost him a dime. According to staffers who were at that meeting, Harris became livid and railed against this waiting period. While he has the option of using COBRA to extend his prior coverage to fill the short gap, he would have to pay for that himself. Instead, he had his hypocritical hissy-fit.
Wikipedia has a modern translation of the Hippocratic Oath – an oath every physician takes. In part, it reads:
- I will prevent disease whenever I can, for prevention is preferable to cure.
- I will remember that I remain a member of society, with special obligations to all my fellow human beings, those sound of mind and body as well as the infirm.
I don’t know whether Dr. Harris’s medical education was subsidized by the government, and I don’t begrudge him from putting that expensive education on the back burner while he serves in Congress. But as a physician and public servant, he now has a special obligation to implement the Hippocratic Oath, not only as a physician but as a trusted emissary to the halls of power. His stance on the repeal of health care, which would cost thousands of lives, is the epitome of hypocrisy and an abrogation of the oath that he swore to.