Most Outrageous Remarks in Health Care Debate

These political figures on both sides of the political aisle have raised eyebrows and drawn condemnation for their remarks, which have inflamed the national debate on President Obama's signature domestic issue, remaking the U.S. health care system.


    Republicans are using slavery-era tactics to oppose health care

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid compares Republicans' opposition to health care overhaul legislation to the 19th century debate over slavery. "Instead of joining us on the right side of history, all the Republicans can come up with is, 'Slow down, stop everything, let's start over.' If you think you've heard these same excuses before, you're right," Reid said Monday. "When this country belatedly recognized the wrongs of slavery, there were those who dug in their heels and said, 'Slow down, it's too early, things aren't bad enough.'" The comments prompted demands from Republicans for Reid to apologize.

    Women should have same access to abortions as men do to Viagra

    Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., compared an effort to limit women's access to abortion to restricting men's access to Viagra. "Why are women being singled out here? It's so unfair," Boxer said on the Senate floor Tuesday. "We don't tell men that if they want to ... buy insurance coverage through their pharmaceutical plan for Viagra that they can't do it."

    'Obamacare' would create death panels

    Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin said President Obama's health care plan would create a "death panel" that would deny care to the neediest Americans. "The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama's 'death panel' so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their 'level of productivity in society,' whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil," Palin wrote on her Facebook page in August.

    You lie!

    Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., shouted, "You lie!" at President Obama during his speech to Congress in September. Wilson's outburst came after Obama said, "There are also those who claim that our reform effort will insure illegal immigrants. This, too, is false. The reforms I'm proposing would not apply to those who are here illegally."

    Opposition to Obamacare is based on racism

    Former president Jimmy Carter said in September that opposition to Obama's health care plan is "based on racism." "I think an overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward President Barack Obama is based on the fact that he is a black man, that he's African American," Carter said. "I live in the South, and I've seen the South come a long way and I've seen the rest of the country that shared the South's attitude toward minority groups at that time ... and I think it's bubbled up to the surface, because of a belief among many white people, not just in the South but around the country, that African-Americans are not qualified to lead this great country."

    Republicans want Americans to die quickly

    Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Fla., accused Republicans in September of wanting Americans to "die quickly" if they get sick. He highlighted his comments on the House floor with a sign that read: "The Republican Health Care Plan: Die Quickly." "Now, Democrats have a different plan," he said.   

    Most likely to disappear into oblivion -- Florida Rep. Alan Grayson

    Grayson also took heat in September for comparing the U.S. health care system to a "holocaust." "I call upon all of us to do our jobs for the sake of America, for the sake of those dying people and their families," Grayson said on the House floor. "I apologize to the dead and their families that we haven't voted sooner to end this holocaust in America."

    Blacks can't vote against health care

    The Rev. Jesse Jackson said in November that any black lawmaker who votes against health care isn't really black. "We even have blacks voting against the health care bill," Jackson said at a Congressional Black Caucus reception honoring the 25th anniversary of the civil rights leader's run for president. "You can't vote against health care and call yourself a black man."

    Health care protesters are angry mobs

    The Democratic National Committee issued a statement in August dismissing health care protests as "mob rule." "The Republicans and their allied groups desperate after losing two consecutive elections and every major policy fight on Capitol Hill ... are inciting angry mobs of a small number of rabid right wing extremists funded by K Street Lobbyists to disrupt thoughtful discussions about the future of health care in America taking place in Congressional Districts across the country," DNC spokesman Brad Woodhouse said in a written statement.

    Obamacare will force Americans to die sooner

    Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla, said Obama's health care plan will force Americans to "die sooner." "I have a message for you: You're going to die sooner," Coburn said earlier this month on the Senate floor.
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