Rick Santorum on Health Care and “What Families Look Like in America”

Rick Santorum converses with students at a Christian college on same-sex marriage and health care:

Jason Kornelis, a 23-year-old recent graduate of Dordt College, asked the former Pennsylvania senator about his anti-same sex marriage stance comparing it to when interracial marriage was illegal in this country.

Clearly agitated, Santorum seemed astounded when Kornelis said he couldn’t contemplate how this would “be a hit to faith and family in America.”

“You can’t think of any consequence?” Santorum asked.

Kornelis answered that he did not.

Santorum then said that if same sex marriage was legalized then “their sexual activity” would be seen as “equal” to heterosexual relationships and it would be taught in schools.

[…]

Santorum also had a tense moment when a student asked him about health care and the Christian responsibility of caring for the poor.

The student said he didn’t “think God appreciates the fact that we have 50 to 100,000 uninsured Americans dying due to a lack of healthcare every year,” citing a 2009 study out of Harvard University.

“Dying?” Santorum answered before going back and forth about the validity of the study.

“The answer is not what can we do to prevent deaths because of a lack of health insurance. There’s — I reject that number completely, that people die in America because of lack of health insurance,” Santorum said to a crowd of 100.

“People die in America because people die in America. And people make poor decisions with respect to their health and their healthcare. And they don’t go to the emergency room or they don’t go to the doctor when they need to,” he said. “And it’s not the fault of the government for not providing some sort of universal benefit.

One of my first thoughts upon reading this was, “Why does this upset me so much? Santorum doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of being nominated, much less elected, President.” And then I turned to Steven L. Taylor’s thoughts on Santorum’s comments and found an answer:

I will stipulate from the start that Rick Santorum is inconsequential to the question of the GOP nomination process.  He started the contest as toast and will leave it as naught but the crumbs at the bottom of  the toaster.

Having said that (and hopefully have forestalled comments along those lines), Santorum does keep saying things that I think a substantial portion of the population believes.  To wit:  he frequently makes moral claims that paint the picture of a universe in which all outcomes are justly generated by the actions of individuals.  In this universe, people are successful because they work hard and make good choices and people fail because they do not work hard enough and/or because of bad choices.

Taylor also addresses Santorum’s paean to suffering at an Iowa town hall meeting held recently:

Santorum’s notion that suffering is just part of life, or even something to be valued, is problematic when asserted by a person of obvious wealth and privilege.  In other words:  it is easy for Santorum to talk about suffering when he and his family are manifestly not suffering (and, likewise, have the means to deal far better with potential suffering than do most in the society).  Indeed, Santorum is sufficiently wealthy that he is able to run for president as a hobby (I am not sure what else to call it, as he clearly has not shot of even being Not Romney for an afternoon, let alone the nominee).

And it’s not as though Santorum experienced economic suffering earlier in his life. In fact, he’s never known it: “His father was a licensed psychologist, and both of his parents had government jobs. “He went to good schools, was a frat boy in college and ended up with a law degree from Penn State University.”

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