Update: Welcome Instapundit readers!!
Representative Joseph Cao is drawing fire around the state for his stand on Obamacare. NOLA has this article this morning (via The Dead Pelican) which describes one of Cao's town hall meetings in New Orleans:
"Days earlier in New Orleans, supporters called for reform. Sally Stevens complained she had $8,000 in medical bills. "I'll let you and your insurance lobbyist buddies handle them," she said, leaving behind a handful of hospital bills before she stormed out."
And that's one of the oddities of this whole debate for me; why do people like Ms. Stevens assume that the government is responsible for their health care bills?
I'm reminded of John Marsh. He was married to Margaret Mitchell, the famous Gone With the Wind author. Mr. Marsh was quite ill right before he and Miss Mitchell married, and he spent months in the hospital as doctors attempted to determine what was wrong with him. This left him with a huge stack of medical bills by the time he was finally released. Margaret Mitchell was also frequently in a doctor's office with assorted ailments of her own. Between the two of them, their medical bills were astounding.
This all occurred during the depression. Did it ever occur to Mr. Marsh or Miss Mitchell to have the government or anyone else bail them out? To cover their bills? Of course not. Mr. Marsh picked up a second job and worked for years to pay the bills off. Miss Mitchell's father, a man of means, offered to help pay them off for the couple, but they refused.
My point is, of course, this entire entitlement society in which we live now. The government is not obligated to pay your health care bills (unless you are a veteran, of course. That's a different issue altogether.)
As for Cao, he represents a primarily Democratic district and as a Republican is having a hard time representing the interest of his constituents. On Obamacare, according to the NOLA piece, he says "he is leaning toward voting for the Democrat-backed legislation and expects to discuss it with President Barack Obama, but he is concerned about its possible effect on the deficit, Medicare and small businesses. One deal-killer, the lawyer and former Jesuit seminarian said, would be a lack of explicit language forbidding federal funding for abortion. That position drew shouted criticism from abortion rights supporters at one recent town hall."
Cao has made clear that the abortion clause is a deal breaker for him. Either way, he's a rarity in Congress: a man standing on his principles and still trying to represent his constituents.