Monday, January 30, 2012

Bella's Getting Better, No Hope For Dad

It's been a rough few days for the three-year-old daughter of Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum, who remains in a hospital with pneumonia.

The longshot candidate described Bella Santorum's improvement on Sunday as "a miraculous turnaround" and it may indeed be a God job. But the top flight medical care she is getting at a Washington, D.C. area hospital may have something to do with her family having health insurance because of Santorum's lavish Senate retirement benefits and personal wealth. But in yet another of the hypocrisy-tinged ironies that abound in today's Republican Party, he is against the government helping provide health insurance to the families of all the other Bellas in America who become ill but cannot afford decent care.

In fact, doing a little extrapolating, of the 45 million Americans without health insurance, there probably are at least a million or so three-year-olds in that situation, while about 1,000 children die of pneumonia in the U.S. each year

Bella's pneumonia is complicated by the fact that she has a genetic condition known as Trisomy 18. The condition typically proves fatal and Santorum often says his daughter wasn't expected to live past 12 months. That she has survived and thrived also may indeed be a God job. But the top flight medical care she is getting may have something to do with her family having health insurance because of Santorum's lavish Senate retirement benefits and wealth. But in yet another of the hypocrisy-tinged ironies that abound in today's Republican Party . . . You know.

As recently as last Friday, Santorum excoriated fellow candidate Mitt Romney, who pushed through the nation's first comprehensive health-care reform as Massachusetts governor, and President Obama for "wanting to tell Americans that as a condition of breathing in America, you have to go out and buy private sector insurance so (sic) the government will fine you."

What Santorum was saying is that under ObamaCare, individuals at a certain income level could be fined beginning in 2014 if they don't get insurance to help fund a pool for insurance for people who cannot afford it. The fines will be small, and there is widespread agreement outside of the Republican fever swamp that the government will not be aggressive in pursuing fines.

This post will attract criticism because by some people's lights writing about a sick child to hammer home the point that her father is a hypocrite should be off limits. But then so would going after Newt Gingrich for his none-of-your-business private life, specifically the fact that as a married man he was having one of his serial affairs as he led the charge to impeach President Clinton for his affair with a White House intern.

In any event, we wish Bella a speedy and full recovery. As for her father, there is no hope.

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