Trusted local news leader for Prescott area communities since 1882
Fri, Feb. 21

Column: Gosar and McCain: impolite living room guests

Senator John McCain and Rep. Paul Gosar have both had pieces on this page recently that were mostly pandering, misleading, and in one case, flat out lied to you.

I’m not surprised about Gosar. I’ve taken his pieces here to task a couple of times, and haven’t even bothered other times. This time though I believe he lifted his entire column from another author, a piece in the Louisville, Kentucky, Courier-Journal written by the head of their Chamber of Commerce, repeated in its entirety with just a few changes.

Politicians use speech writers, and maybe he got permission from the author, I don’t know. I talked to the author’s assistant and asked if they were aware of this but they never came back with an answer. Regardless, with published material you quote it. You don’t con your readers into thinking it’s yours.

The piece was about so-called “right to work” states. The claim was that most of the 50 cities that have recovered the best are in those states, and Gosar is advocating expanding it, except he should have examined what he was reusing more carefully. None of those 50 cities was in Arizona. Oops! It did run on April 2, though. Maybe it was his way of making us out to be April fools.

McCain was grousing about Obamacare, which is fine if he wants to dislike it, but spent most of his space in generalities or misleading. He cited a poll about how unpopular Obamacare is. The Kaiser Foundation, perhaps the most authoritative and impartial source for all topics medical, finds that indeed 90 percent want Obamacare changed. I guess that’s that? But then they give the details. Thirty percent want it thrown out or replaced by some GOP alternative. But another 60 percent want to either build on it, or take it further to something like Medicare for all. Oops! I guess the Senator missed that detail, but he should have checked before misleading by saying, “the overwhelming majority of Americans oppose Obamacare.”

He complains that premiums continue to go up, as well we all should. But here’s some news Senator. Healthcare has been going up more than everything else for a long time, and will continue to. That is it’s own problem. Ironically, at least some people are so stubborn about Obamacare they refuse to even check whether they could get a better price through it. A reporter at Slate Magazine, Eric Stern, followed up on some couples who complained on TV about huge premiums. None had even checked the exchanges, they just kept buying their private insurance. He put their information in for them and found they could save many thousands of dollars a year, and get more coverage. These were not poor couples getting subsidies. The enormous savings were from things like not paying extra for preexisting conditions, or from being able to cover their young-adult children.

Part of the cost is because more people are getting health care now and that has to be covered between insurance premiums and government subsidies. What is the cost to a nation of having so many people go with untreated health needs? How was that enriching the country? The fact that the law has brought so much previously untreated health need to light should be an embarrasment, not a complaint.

The Senator sympathized with those above poverty but still of low income who would be hit with a $700 fine if they didn’t buy insurance. Certainly the most unlikable part of the plan, except he didn’t bother to point out that in this state someone in that income range can choose from several plans on the exchange that cost less - subsidized plans for as little as $40 per month. They would actually save money and have insurance.

He complained that “coverage absent affordability is largely meaningless.” By George, I think he’s got it. Before the law, many people couldn’t afford it, and now they can. Government data and private Gallup polls find Arizona’s uninsured has dropped from 20 percent to 14 percent. That’s huge. That’s 420,000 people. That means that the next time you’re in the store, or any place public, and you look around and can see just 17 people, chances are one of them now has health care that they couldn’t get before.

I think of these pages as Prescott’s living room. A place right and left and others can all express their opinions. These people we have elected come into our living room and mislead, toss out a few pandering platitudes, and expect we should be happy they made an appearance. That’s rude. Senator McCain, for all his years in office, should certainly be able to do better.

Strike one, Senator. Try again.

Tom Cantlon is a local business owner and writer and can be reached at comments at

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