Monday, September 27, 2010

Joe Heck: Sharrontology Redux?

Of course, we've been hearing plenty lately about Sharron Angle and her opposition to HMOs covering everything from colon cancer screenings to autism care. We know how extreme and irrational she's been on health care.

As reported last week by the Sun’s Anjeanette Damon, a video of Angle at a Tea Party rally last year captured her mocking a 2009 Nevada law that requires health care plans to cover autism screening and treatment. It did not seem to matter to Angle that the bill passed 21-0 in the state Senate and 39-2 in the Assembly.

She told the gathering: “Take off the mandates for coverage in the state of Nevada and all over the United States. But here you know what I’m talking about. You’re paying for things you don’t even need.” She included in that category the coverage for autism, even using exaggerated air quotes to emphasize the word autism.

This callous attitude toward essential health care benefits was nothing new for Angle, who is running against Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. When she served in the Assembly in 2003, she was on the losing end of a 39-2 vote on legislation that required health care plans to cover colorectal cancer screening. The same bill passed the Senate unanimously and became law.

What does that say about Angle? She’s obviously not the kind of politician who would be representing the interests of Nevadans on health care issues that come before the Senate. She has said she would repeal the national health care reforms, even though they will require insurers to cover children with pre-existing conditions, remove caps on lifetime coverage and allow young adults to remain on their parents’ policies until the age of 26.

Just extreme and irrational... But is she alone on this? Joe Heck wants us to think so, but wants the teabaggers to think differently.

Heck, considered a moderate Republican while in the state Senate, has swung more to the right since his days in the Legislature. His conservative proposals — he advocates dismantling the Education Department and creating optional private Social Security accounts — are likely an attempt to capitalize on the Tea Party wave that’s sweeping America. [...]

Heck, meanwhile, is keeping his distance from some of his GOP colleagues — namely U.S. Senate candidate Sharron Angle — while adopting much of the Tea Party rhetoric she uses. It’s a decidedly more conservative stance than he took in the Legislature, but one he hopes will not alienate independent voters.

Indeed, Heck has been endorsed by the House Conservatives Fund, whose chairman says the group supports “hard-core conservatives.”

“When he was in the state Legislature, he was Mr. Moderate, willing to compromise, solve problems,” said David Damore, a political scientist at UNLV. “But he sort of fell under the sway of the Tea Party folks.”

Heck says he wants "to cut through the partisan gridlock that makes government so ineffective and unappealing", but his record in the state legislature shows he was a part of that very partisan gridlock he now complains about. Take a look at SB 113, legislation to ensure HMOs cover prostate cancer screenings. Joe Heck voted against it, simply because he was opposed to "mandates". Even though these screenings can help in detecting cancer early enough to save lives AND save money (in terms of preventing more radically intrusive and radically expensive treatment), Heck couldn't be swayed.

Does this sound familiar?

Well, it should!

The logic is simple here. Prevention is often the best medicine, and it's certainly the most cost effective. So if Joe Heck was really concerned about this HPV virus and its cost, wouldn't he compare and contrast the cost of a Gardisil shot (about $360) with the cost of treating cervical cancer, which becomes much more likely after contracting the HPV virus (let's just say we now move into the many thousands of $$$$).

And what is Heck's "philosophical objection", actually? That women have sex? So does this mean he also wants men not to have sex? After all, men also spread the HPV virus that causes cervical cancer.

Joe Heck may be a doctor, but it seems that's not getting in his way in terms of disregarding the facts on women's health care.

Yes, let's not forget Joe Heck's now infamous opposition to SB 409, the bill that required insurance companies to cover HPV/cervical cancer vaccination if parents wanted it for their daughters. Again, he has "philosophical objections" to rewarding "risky behavior".

Again, does this sound familiar?

I guess Sharron Angle and Joe Heck have a whole lot in common when it comes to health care. Neither supports common sense preventive care to keep more people healthy and keep costs down for all of us. And both are more interested in padding insurance companies' profits than doing what's best for Nevada's working families.

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