Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Cao Struggles With ObamaCare

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.


Anonymous said...


While I disagree strongly with the entire notion of the Federal Government getting involved in HC, I have to respect Rep Cao for representing his constituency and leaning towards a vote for Obamacare.

An ethical member of Congress? Would they were all made the same way.

Peripatetic Engineer said...

Joseph Cao is the only congresscritter who has taken the time to actually read the bill. And unlike his democratic colleage in the next district, he has actually held town hall mettings.

I think Joseph is probably the only congresscritter with any integrity. I hop ehe can keep his office and his integrity.

Steelweaver52 said...

I'm in Cao's district (LA 02) and I voted for him this past election.

Ethically, Cao is probably similar to Thomas Jefferson. Ideologically, he's probably similar to William Jefferson.

When I've emailed him, I've urged him to erase his fingerprints from federal healthcare, which I anticipate will be a disaster. I don't expect him to go that way, however, unless the abortion issue somehow prevents him from backing it.

By the way, I'll very likely vote for Cao again. In this district, he's probably about as conservative as we can ever hope for.

---Tom Nally, New Orleans

Reaganite Republican said...

I respect and admire Rep Cao, and have read his personal history. Vietnamese-Americans are often hard-working self reliant types that don't trust government in their lives... escaping a communist dictatorship in a leaky rowboat will do that to you.

Hopefully he won't forget the hours of torture his father endured at the hands of communist re-educators in Vietnam.

AND I also hope that he realizes that Team Obama would have all the Obamacare opponents rounded-up too, if they could get away with it in this country.

while Rep Cao seems like a genuine and sincere man dealing in good faith... I hope he is aware that the other side is anything but- and it's not advisable to take anything at face value coming from THIS White House. It should be made clear to him that ANY public option is just a step in a long-term nationalization of the insurance industry.

Perhaps he's clever enough to be using the abortion issue as a cover story... as he knows his district won't be happy with a "NO" vote- and also that Obama will likely never back off of that.

Keep up the great work, Pat- great post!

BrideOfRove said...

Marsh had some help with those bills. From The Forgotten Man by Amity Shlaes

"People noticed that Wilkie also loved helping his subordinates. One of them, an executive at the Georgia Power Company named John Marsh, was married to a Smith College dropout. the wife had written a 1,037 page romance novel about the Civil War. Wilkie liked the book and the author so much he sent out a memo to Commonwealth and Southern employees, plugging it. Her name was Margaret Mitchell, and her book, Gone with the Wind, would go on to sell four million copies. Wilkie believed such success created an unhealthy gap between a man and a wife. To make Marsh feel manly, Wilkie promoted him at the power company."

Just a bit of trivia for you. I love that book. There has never been a heroine quite like the original version of Scarlett O'Hara

Anonymous said...

Another oddity: Why do people like Ms. Stevens believe the insurance lobbyists oppose Obamacare when they're among its biggest backers?