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Perhaps He Gave Her a Free T-Shirt

Here’s a letter that I sent to the New York Times:

You open your report on the President’s continued push for health-care reform with the following account: “For a moment, President Obama’s pledge to keep fighting for major health care legislation got personal on Thursday night as he told supporters at a fund-raiser about a former campaign worker in St. Louis without health insurance who had died of breast cancer.  ‘She insisted she is going to be buried in an Obama T-shirt,’ he said…. ‘How can I say to her, ‘You know what, we’re giving up’’? ” (“Democrats Ask, Can Health Care Bill Be Saved?” Feb. 5).

What have we here?  A politically successful multimillionaire stands idly by as an employee – who seems also to have been Mr. Obama’s personal acquaintance – dies because she cannot afford proper medical care.  Then Mr. Obama deploys this tale of woe not to apologize for, or to criticize, his own refusal to help a friend but, instead, to criticize millions of other people who never met this woman for their refusal to be forced into ponying up for her health insurance.

A truly ethical person voluntarily sacrifices from his own purse to help others when appropriate.  And he never pretends that he fulfills his ethical duties by calling upon the state to compel people to do what he himself refuses to do voluntarily.

Donald J. Boudreaux

As Dave Schmidtz points out to me in the e-mail that he sent alerting me to this report, the entire story has a distinct air of unbelievability about it.  It’s likely untrue – a fact that raises a whole ‘nother set of issues.


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