Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Jeb Bush Opposition to Women's Health Spending a Gift to Democrats

The GOP war on women is real and Jeb "Jebbie" Bush inadvertently underscored that reality when he questioned the amount of government support for women’s health programs generally while attacking Planned Parenthood funding.  Like most in the GOP, Jebbie ignores the fact that only about 3% of Planned Parenthood funding involves abortions while the rest goes to providing services that many women would otherwise not be able to secure.  It's part and parcel with the GOP's view on health care which can be summed up as "let the poor sicken and die, and good riddance."  A piece in Politico looks at this blunder by Bush.  Here are excerpts:

Another ill-advised ad lib from Jeb Bush, another opportunity for Democrats.

Looking to curry favor with religious conservatives at the outset of a competitive primary fight, Bush on Tuesday repeated his call to cut off funding for Planned Parenthood — and then he went even further, questioning the amount of government support for women’s health programs generally.

The Romneyesque unforced error drew a fast and furious backlash from Democrats, causing Bush to backtrack almost immediately and to acknowledge that he “misspoke.”

The controversial comment came as Bush started to acknowledge the importance of federal funding for some women’s health programs, and then stopped mid-sentence to qualify his remarks, asserting that he believes the current amount of funding is likely too much.

“I’m not sure we need half a billion dollars in funding for women’s health programs,”  . . .  “But abortion should not be funded by the government, any government in my mind,” he concluded.

Bush, who told the audience that, as governor, he defunded Planned Parenthood in Florida, prefaced his comments by acknowledging that Democrats are likely to attack his comments — and the GOP’s current fight against Planned Parenthood, which gained steam after the release of several controversial videos that allegedly show organization officials talking about the sale of fetal tissue and organs.

It didn’t take long.  Less than an hour after Bush wrapped up his appearance before more than 13,000 members at a Southern Baptist convention in Nashville, Hillary Clinton tweeted directly at Bush: “You are absolutely, unequivocally wrong.”

At an organizing event in Denver on Tuesday night, Clinton slammed Bush again over his comment.  “He’s got no problem giving billions of dollars away to super wallet and powerful corporations but I guess women’s health just isn’t a priority for him,” she said to a crowd of 300 supporters.  “I would like to ask him to try telling that to the mom who caught her breast cancer early because she was able to get screening in time. Was her health not worth the money?”

In talking about health care and health spending, Bush opened himself up to an examination of his record as Florida governor, when he did relatively little about the rising cost of health insurance and the spiking rates of the uninsured. The number of Floridians under age 65 who lacked insurance rose from nearly 17 percent to more than 20 percent from the time he took office in 1999 to the time he left in 2007, according to Florida and Census data. During his two terms, Medicaid rolls swelled 31 percent — from 1.6 million people to 2.1 million — and cost taxpayers $14.6 billion by the time he left office. So many people were on public assistance in Florida that more than 45 percent of all births were subsidized by Medicaid.

Bush’s record aside, the video of his Tuesday comments could be used to devastating effect in television ads against him next fall, should he become the Republican nominee.

Tuesday’s comments mark the third occasion in recent weeks in which an inartfully phrased comment has sparked criticism from Democrats and put Bush on the defensive.

Last month, Bush had to explain his statement that “workers need to work longer hours,” after Democrats portrayed Bush as having said that workers are lazy; and he also had to walk back a comment about “phasing out” Medicare after it was unclear whether he was referring to the specific program or more generally to ballooning entitlements.

Jebbie is utterly clueless about the travails faced by average Americans.  Worse yet, I don't think he even cares about most of us.

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