You may have never heard of Greg Collett. He is a twice failed Tea Party candidate for the Idaho state legislature. He is a software engineer who has ten home schooled children. Greg Collett is like many Americans in that he wants what he thinks is best for his family. Recently, he has become the latest poster boy for right wing hypocrisy regarding health care.
On his campaign website Greg Collett identifies himself as the second oldest of eight children. His father worked for the U.S. Forest Service. He describes his political philosophy and experience as follows:
Although I have not yet held an elected position in government, I am well versed in the working of government and the proper role it should play. …I have had the opportunity to teach many people about advanced constitutional concepts, explain the challenges we face as a nation and state, break down complex problems, and demonstrate how the sole purpose of government should be to secure our individual, God-given rights.
Collett is also identified in an NBC News story from October 1, as someone who is opposed to Obamacare. He told reporter Maggie Fox
I don’t think that the government should be involved in health care or health insurance.
Greg Collett’s ten children are all on Medicaid.
Collett discusses his philosophy regarding health insurance
A number of sites have highlighted Greg Collett’s story over the past few days. Apparently enough attention has been pointed in his direction that he felt it necessary to respond. His campaign website has a notice on the home page directing the curious to a page containing his response.
If government is properly left out of the equation, individuals are to take responsibility for their own situations. If they cannot meet their obligations, they should turn to their families for support. If families are not able to help, they should go to churches or other charitable organizations for assistance. Government should not be involved, period.
Collett stresses that he pays his medical bills, and offers the following observation:
I want to make it very clear that the only reason taxpayers pick up the bill for those that do not pay is strictly due to government mandates to health care providers that violate the proper role of government.
Is he saying what he seems to be saying? Because what he seems to be saying is that the government should not require that hospitals treat patients who cannot afford their treatment. This echoes the sentiment of the crowd members who yelled “let him die!” at a 2011 Republican debate.
Like so many with similar opinions, Collett misses two important points:
- A catastrophic illness requiring a long hospital stay or intensive care will result in a bill far beyond his or most others’ ability to pay.
- Hospitals are forced to charge more to those who can pay their entire bill in order to cover operating costs when someone else needs a payment plan.
Greg Collett explains why he is ok with his children receiving Medicaid
Yes, I participate in government programs of which I adamantly oppose. Many of them, actually.
He then proceeds to list the programs, which range from marriage licenses to government ownership of land. One of the programs he singles out is the foster care program. Seven of his ten children were adopted through the foster care system, which, he explains, is why they receive Medicaid. The others, he says, “qualify based on the financial rules.”
For those of you who insist that I take my kids of [sic] Medicaid, please feel free to get them off by terminating the entire program. I would be the most thrilled if that were to happen since, as with all public welfare programs, it should not exist.
Instead of setting an example by proving to the rest of us that he can provide for medical care for his children without Medicaid, Collett prefers to take advantage of a program he claims to hate. He offered the following rationalization to NBC:
The government is taking your money. They are spending it on things they shouldn’t be. Trying to get whatever you can back — I have nothing against that. You have to at some point try and get your tax dollars back.
Greg Collett does not believe that he is a hypocrite. The dictionary defines “hypocrisy” as follows:
the practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one’s own behavior does not conform
Yes, Mr. Collett, you are a hypocrite.