North Carolina state Senator Bob Rucho is standing by his tweet over the weekend that said the Affordable Care Act has done more damage than Nazis, Soviets and terrorists.
A quick bit of background information: Senator Rucho's tweet mentions Chief Justice John Roberts, who wrote the U.S. Supreme Court decision that allowed the Affordable Care Act to stand. OK, here's the tweet:
"Justice Robert's pen & Obamacare has done more damage to the USA then the swords of the Nazis, Soviets & terrorists combined." Rucho has received a lot of criticism for the tweet, including from the chairman of the state Republican Party, who called the tweet "highly offensive" and said Rucho should apologize.
The Republican from Mecklenburg County spoke with WFAE's Michael Tomsic Monday evening. Here's part of his conversation with Sen. Rucho:
And here's a transcript of that that conversation:
Sen. Rucho: The damage that occurred is both financial, economic – how did it affect their lives? The people that are using it and misrepresenting it are trying to take away from the message – and the reason I even tweeted – and that was start to bring an awareness that something needs to be addressed on this issue. You just can’t ram the health care laws through without knowing what the ramifications are, and the ramifications are now 6 million people lost health care. In the future, it could be 20 or 30 million people that lose health care. Nowhere in the tweet did it say one thing that was interpreted by people that were more concerned about losing the message and/or a different agenda.
Michael: OK, but the tweet did say that it has done more damage than the Nazis, the Soviets and terrorists combined so…
Sen. Rucho: No, what it says…
Michael: No, I’ve got it right here in front of me. It says “Justice Robert’s pen and Obamacare has done more damage to the USA than the swords of the Nazis, Soviets and terrorists combined.”
Sen. Rucho: Right.
Michael: So can you at least understand why some people would think that it’s upsetting that you’re comparing the effects of a health care law to these major wars and these terrorist attacks that have happened?
Sen. Rucho: All I can say to you is in my belief that impact of the people on America will be very similar to those impacts that would have affected us. I mean…
Michael: So do you think people are actually going to die because of the Affordable Care Act?
Sen. Rucho: Well, I’ll tell you right now I’ve already had complaints of people that were told that they’re not allowed to get knee replacements, hip replacements, that if you’re too old we’re just not going to invest a $150,000 on maybe doing the catherization. You tell me, if that rationed care is going to cause people to die or not.
Michael: If that is really happening, then yeah, that’s insane. But I mean, is that actually happening? I mean, I haven’t seen stories of people being told that because of the Affordable Care Act “No, we’re not going to cover your hip replacement.”
Sen. Rucho: They just took $600 billion out of the Medicare system, which unfortunately I’m part of. And the fact of the matter is when you start taking money out of the system that won’t allow health care to be provided that doctors and hospitals aren’t participating in – you tell me how can you have better health care?
Michael: I hear your argument Senator Rucho. But I still think that what people are getting caught up on is the comparison of those kinds of impacts to the things that the Nazis and terrorists have done, which is kill innocent people.
Sen. Rucho: Well if you look back in your history, you’ll see that during the Bismarck in Germany, they had a Socialist-light health care system that was expanded under Hitler. Ok? So they already have used a system similar to the direction we are going where one plan fits all, whether you need it or you don’t, and the government is going to tell you who should and who shouldn’t get health care. You tell me.
Michael: But we’re talking about changes to a health care system though as opposed to outright wars and genocide from the Nazis and outright terrorist attacks like 9-11.
Sen. Rucho: Michael, all I can say to you is that the analogy was put together to show the severity of a war is every bit as severe and as impactful of the people of this country as will be that system as they transform and change the way people live and how they have their health care and what it costs them. The reason why I used the war and the sword was to show that it is, will be a huge impact on the way people in America will be. Why do you think we fought in World War II? Why do you think my dad was in the Navy in World War II? To fight the Nazis and the Japanese. And then why did we fight the Soviets, and today the terrorists? Because they were wrong, and they were trying to hurt us. Well in this case, all we are saying and all I said was the dimension of that war, and the impact on the people have the same amount as the change in one-sixth of the economy on health care.
Michael: So it sounds like you are standing by this comparison.
Sen. Rucho: I am standing by my comparison in the truth, and unfortunately there are people – and I call them the “Socialist elite” that are trying to discredit the message that I’m saying that people need to take their head out of the sand and start looking and trying to determine whether there really is a problem with the implementation of this health care system.