A month after Richard Mourdock defeated Sen. Dick Lugar in a Republican primary in Indiana, the public is still getting a sense of the limits of his Tea Party worldview. As Scott Keyes noted, there appears to be reason for concern.
[Mourdock] told a local Indiana newspaper that, contra Obamacare’s protections, employers ought to be able to deny health insurance to people with cancer.
During a freewheeling interview with the News and Tribune, Mourdock said health care will be the “biggest issue” this election. The Indiana Republican, who opposes the Affordable Care Act, argued that businesses should be permitted to deny coverage to employees with cancer “if they want to keep their health care costs down.” “Does that employer have the right to do it?” Mourdock asked. “I would say yes they do.”
The Mourdock campaign has acted quickly to remind reporters that the Senate candidate doesn’t recommend that employers deny coverage to employees with cancer, and in fact, he hopes that they don’t. Rather, Mourdock was making a philosophical point – he wants voters to understand his worldview, which in this case means businesses should, in theory, be able to deny insurance coverage for cancer patients if they want to.
If this argument seems familiar, it’s because Kentucky’s Rand Paul presented a related approach on The Rachel Maddow Show during his 2010 U.S. Senate campaign – he doesn’t want businesses to discriminate against customers on the basis of race; he simply believes private establishments should, in theory, be able to discriminate if they want to.
The issue at hand, in other words, is theoretical. In Mourdock’s case, President Obama and Democrats believe Americans with pre-existing conditions, including cancer, must be protected from discrimination. The GOP Hoosier is trying to make the case against this position – he’s just doing so rather clumsily.
Mourdock doesn’t want to come across as pro-cancer, and by all appearances, he’s not. The Republican, rather, is just a callous far-right candidate who would allow Americans to suffer as part of a larger ideological crusade that demands fewer government safeguards to protect the public.
That doesn’t mean he wants cancer patients to go without out of spite; it means he’d allow cancer patients to go without as part of a governing philosophy.
The distinction should bring comfort to Hoosiers with pre-existing conditions, right?