By now you probably know that right-wingers are smearing the family of Graeme Frost, the 12-year-old survivor of a serious car accident who spoke in favor of the S-CHIP program in the Democratic response to President Bush's radio address a couple of weeks ago.
Now I see that Rush Limbaugh has decided to put the boot in:
Rush proceeded to recycle the myths that Graeme and his sister must be fat-cat recipients of government welfare because they attend "one of Baltimore's expensive private schools" and own a house in a decent neighborhood. As we noted yesterday, Graeme has a scholarship to the private school. His sister's tuition is covered by the state due to her brain injuries, and the house was purchased for $55,000 in 1991 when the neighborhood was not as safe as it is today.
What Limbaugh isn't telling you is that he doesn't just have contempt for people who need S-CHIP -- he has contempt for people who use private health insurance.
Terry Golway wrote about this a few years ago in The New York Observer after listening to a Limbaugh broadcast:
As I don't get a chance to listen to daytime radio, I can't say I'm familiar with the civic culture of Limbaugh nation. So I was mildly surprised to hear that nation's maximum leader carrying on about the stupidity of health insurance and the admirable but regrettably forgotten custom of simply paying Yankee dollars in exchange for services rendered. After all, Mr. Limbaugh told us, that's what he does when he visits the doctor! Why, he has two or three or four (he can't keep count!) health-insurance plans, including one foisted upon him by the union of radio blowhards, but he never uses these plans because he pays cash money for his medical needs. What a great nation we would be if only we were all like him! What kind of crypto-Euro-socialists have we become, that we rely on insurance companies to help pay for services we need?
Mr. Limbaugh's contempt for health insurance is matched only by his impatience with medical forms, which he sees as yet another nefarious big-government plot to keep people intimidated, ignorant and dependent. In the great man's view, the doctors are like liberal Democrats, and their staffs are the equivalent of paper-pushing bureaucrats devoid of creativity, energy and all those things that once made us great. Why, when Mr. Limbaugh attempted to pay cash for his X-rays, the bureaucrats were aghast. They didn't know what to do! They were trained to ask for an insurance card, and when Mr. Limbaugh declined to produce one -- remember, he doesn't know where his cards are, because he never uses them, because he is a rugged individualist -- why, they fumbled and sputtered and consulted their rules and procedures!
Oh, there was no mistaking Mr. Limbaugh's contempt for these little people with their little minds. And why do these little people exist, and why do they hand us those forms? They want us to be dependent. If we were all like Rush, we would throw away the forms and cut up our insurance cards and pay for our doctor's visits and X-rays and cancer surgery in cash, like we did back in the old days when we were great.
There's your great populist leader. There's the great Tribune of the People. You need insurance? What a loser you are. What a sapper of our national will.