At a town hall meeting in Tulsa, the following exchange took place between a questioner and Oklahoma’s Republican Senator Tom Coburn, a physician:
QUESTION: With more and more cuts in Medicare and Medicaid on the horizon, I’m really worried about protecting our frail elderly in the Medicare and Medicaid facilities. So I would like to know how Congress proposes to balance the budget and still make sure our frail elderly in these facilities are protected and have trained care staff.
COBURN: That’s a great question. The first question I have for you is if you look in the Constitution, where is it the federal government’s role to do that? That’s number one. Number two is the way I was brought up that’s a family responsibility, not a government responsibility.
If you watch the video, you’ll notice that some members of the audience applaud Coburn’s response.
On the off-chance that one or more of the applauders reads Harry’s Place, I have three questions for them:
1. Are you absolutely sure that neither you, nor anyone you care deeply about, will ever become elderly and frail?
2. If not, are you absolutely sure that your or their family will be willing and able to bear the expense and effort to care for you or them?
3. If your answers to the first two questions are “no,” why did you applaud?