Break a Hip? Pay Your Doctor With a Live Chicken, Says Nev. Republican

April 21, 2010

(ChattahBox)—Is this the Republicans’ idea of repeal and replace the healthcare reform bill? Got no Health insurance? Got no money? No problem, just offer to pay your doctor with a live chicken, when you need medical care, like the old days. Think “Little House on the Prairie” or “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman.” But these are TV shows you might say, and they have no basis in reality, especially when it comes to our complex healthcare system in the 21st century. No matter, Sue Lowden the leading Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate in Nevada, believes bartering with your doctor for healthcare is a reasonable alternative to reform. Because, she says doctors are “sympathetic people,” and they would gladly accept poultry to repair a broken hip or a batch of homemade cookies to treat an ear infection. No, this is not a piece of satire from the Onion.

Last week Lowden, the tea party backed Republican candidate trying to unseat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), encouraged people to “go ahead and barter with your doctor.” Bartering would “get get prices down in a hurry, she said.” Her comments were so bizarre, that it was thought she was confused between the concepts of bartering and bargaining. But apparently not.

Lowden appeared on a local news program and offered more detail about her vision of healthcare reform:

“I’m telling you that this works,” Lowden explained. “You know, before we all started having health care, in the olden days, our grandparents, they would bring a chicken to the doctor. They would say, ‘I’ll paint your house.’ I mean, that’s the old days of what people would do to get health care with their doctors. Doctors are very sympathetic people. I’m not backing down from that system.”

After her remarks were subjected to mockery and derision, Lowden’s spokesman told Greg Sargent of the Plum Line today, that she was sticking by her statements:

“Americans are struggling to pay for their health care, and in order to afford coverage we must explore all options available to drive costs down. Bartering with your doctor is not a new concept. There have been numerous reports as to how negotiating with your doctor is an option and doctors have gone on the record verifying this.”

Lowden’s press release shows she is still confused by the distinction between barter and bargain, but both ideas are nevertheless, ridiculous. Returning to a medieval economy based on a barter system is not a serious solution to our nation’s healthcare problems. And the fact that a leading contender for the U.S. Senate is promoting such kooky ideas, says a lot about the state of our current political discourse.

The DSCC is not letting such a prime opportunity for ridicule to pass it by. A new Chickens for Checkups website is set to go up today, offering people the opportunity to send Lowden a “personalized message asking for her help in finding a doctor for their 19th century illness.”

Deirdre Murphy, spokesperson for the DSCC, said “You can’t make this stuff up,” “Sue Lowden is completely out of touch with reality if she thinks trading chickens for checkups is smart health care reform.”

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