After his election last November, Maine Independent Sen. Angus King said he wanted to serve as a bridge between the two parties.
“I want to keep the lines of communications open with the Republicans, because the fact is, given a Republican House, a Democratic Senate with substantial power in the Republican minority, and a Democratic president, if we don’t work together, it’s impossible,” he told PBS back then.
His bridge-builder tone today is, shall we say, a little sharper. King tells Salon:
…Well-heeled conservative groups are appealing to uninsured young people to remain uninsured — part of a backdoor effort to undermine the structural integrity of the health care law.
Their efforts have attracted the attention of one senator who recounts how being insured saved his life when he was a young adult, and who has since then watched others die due to lack of coverage. And he doesn’t mince words with those who’d take risks with other people’s health security.
“That’s a scandal — those people are guilty of murder in my opinion,” Sen. Angus King, a Maine Independent who caucuses with Democrats, told me in a Friday interview. “Some of those people they persuade are going to end up dying because they don’t have health insurance. For people who do that to other people in the name of some obscure political ideology is one of the grossest violations of our humanity I can think of. This absolutely drives me crazy.”
“I tried to look up the phone number for one of these guys … to ask “are you aware of what you’re doing?” he added.
Forty years ago, when King was 29 years old, he was provided health insurance as a staffer for then-Sen. Bill Hathaway, R-Maine, and for the first time in a decade went to a clinic for a checkup.
“I had a health policy that included in it a free annual physical as a part of the policy and they had evening clinic hours. And I wouldn’t have taken the day off — and if that hadn’t been covered under the insurance there’s no doubt in my mind that I wouldn’t have gone to have the checkup,” King said.
“It was a routine checkup and the doctor found this mole, and I went in a week later to have the stitches out. The doctor told me I’d better sit down and that I had melanoma…. A month later I found myself having every cancer test you could imagine. Ultimately I had a fairly major surgery. The point of the story is that without the surgery I would have died.”
During the original Obamacare debate, Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) infamously said that Republicans want you to “die quickly.”