GOP Rep. Stacey Campfield, Obamacare, and the Israeli health system

GOP Rep. Stacey Campfield, Obamacare, and the Israeli health system May 7, 2014

It is foolish, offensive nonsense for politicians like Tennessee Republican state Rep. Stacey Campfield to compare the Affordable Care Act to the Holocaust. The former has provided access to affordable health insurance for millions of people. The latter murdered millions of people. This is not a small distinction.

Campfield was reprimanded by his own party, but he’s doubling-down, not backing down. Campfield is compounding his offensiveness with a further display of ignorance.

“I think Jewish people should be the first to stand up against Obamacare,” Campfield told the Associated Press Monday in a phone interview.

Israel has maintained a system of socialized health care since its establishment in 1948.” Israel’s National Health Insurance law of 1995 should sound familiar to Americans acquainted with our ACA:

In 1995, the National Health Insurance Law came into effect, which made membership in one of the four existing Health Maintenance Organizations compulsory for all Israeli citizens.

The law determined a uniform benefits package … for all citizens — a list of medical services and treatments which each of the Health Maintenance Organizations is required to fund for its members. Additionally, certain services were brought under the direct administration of the State, usually by means of the Health Ministry. In addition, the law set out a system of public funding for health care services by means of a progressive health tax, administered by Bituah Leumi, or the National Insurance Institute, Israel’s social security organization, which transfers funding to the Health Maintenance Organizations according to a certain formula based on the number of members in each fund, the age distribution of members, and a number of other indices. The Health Maintenance Organizations also receive direct financing from the states money.

… The 1995 law also imposed a system of financial and medical oversight of HMOs by the State. In addition to the uniform benefits package provided to all citizens, which provides coverage for basic and essential health care, every HMO fund provides their members with the option to acquire “supplementary insurance,” which includes services and treatments that are not covered by the publicly funded system.

American wingnuts like Stacey Campfield call that the Holocaust. Israelis call that the Health Ministry.

But Campfield isn’t done yet. He piled even more ignorance and offensiveness on top of his initial statement by arguing that his Holocaust comparison was due to the Affordable Care Act including “death panels” (there is no such thing in the law) and federal funding for abortion (the law explicitly prohibits federal funding for abortion — twice).

Comparing legal abortion to the Holocaust won’t get you reprimanded by the Republican Party of Tennessee. Comparing legal abortion to the Holocaust is routine behavior for Republicans in Tennessee and throughout America.

And that offensive, ignorant comparison is routine behavior for white evangelicals throughout America.

Remember this from earlier this year?

Just two days after Israel’s cabinet approved a new policy extending government abortion subsidies to all women ages 20-33, the staunchly anti-choice Liberty Counsel released an alert entitled, “Stand With Israel Now,” complete with a photograph of Benjamin Netanyahu with Liberty Counsel head Mat Staver.

“There has never been a more critical time for you to show your support to Israel and its Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu! Become a Liberty Ambassador to Israel and have your faith strengthened and your resolve fortified to stand for Israel,” the group writes. “In light of the failed foreign policies of our current American administration, it has never been a more important time to express our unwavering resolve to stand united with Israel.”

Matt Barber, Staver’s deputy at Liberty Counsel, has praised Netanyahu as the “Leader of the Free World” who turned Israel into “the shining city on the hill,” unlike President Obama whom the group regularly berates as “one of the world’s immoral leaders.”

The group accuses Obama of implementing “forced abortion funding” and “rubbing the aborted babies in the face of every single American.” They also argue that God will punish America for Obama’s “self-destructive” pro-choice stance, and have linked abortion rights to SatanslaveryNazism and the Holocaust.

Just a few months ago, Staver and Barber insisted that if they were to remain silent in their opposition to abortion rights, they would be just as bad as “those who silently stood by and allowed the Nazis to murder millions of Jews.” “Silence is affirmation,” Staver said. “If you are silent on this issue, you are affirming that this is something that is acceptable.”

“Posterity will view those who stood in silence or who tacitly accepted this abortion holocaust just as history views those who silently stood by and allowed the Nazis to murder millions of Jews,” Barber said, adding: “Are we comparing the pro-choice movement to the Nazi movement? Yes! Absolutely.”

More from Ari Kohen here.

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