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Congressman Grayson Wins Another Round in Healthcare Debate

by John Nichols

Florida Congressman Alan Grayson keeps provoking congressional Republicans and their media allies with fact-based challenges to the lies being used to block health care reform.

Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Fla., speaks at a town hall meeting on health care in Tavares, Florida (AP Photo/John Raoux) The insurance-industry stooges keep taking the bait.

And the truth about the high cost of delaying needed changes in America's health care delivery system keeps getting the attention it deserves.

Why is Grayson so effective?

Because, unlike many other Democrats and mainstream Republicans, he refuses to be intimidated by the bullying tactics employed by the GOP's "Party of 'No' caucus" and its accomplices.

No matter how desperately Republicans in Congress and their amen corner in the media may try to the censor the dissident Democrats, Grayson is reminding America about the trail of dead left by insurance-company greed and political neglect.

The Florida Democrat who drew national attention last month when he declared on the House floor that the Republican plan for uninsured Americans was "don't get sick, and if you do get sick, die quickly," was back on the House floor this week to announce the creation of a website to honor the victims of the current system.

Grayson, who has taken the lead in highlighting a Harvard study that shows 44,000 Americans die annually because they have no health insurance, told the House and the nation: "I think it dishonors all those Americans who have lost their lives because they had no health coverage, by ignoring them, by not paying attention to them, and by doing nothing to change the situation that led them to lose their live."

With that in mind, he announced the launch of a Names of the Dead website.

Grayson's welcoming message at the site declares:

 

Every year, more than 44,000 Americans die simply because have no health insurance.

I have created this project in their memory. I hope that honoring them will help us end this senseless loss of American lives. If you have lost a loved one, please share the story of that loved one with us. Help us ensure that their legacy is a more just America, where every life that can be saved will be saved.

Visitors to the site are invited to add the names and stories of people who have died. They're also asked where they stand with regard to the health-care reform debate. There are links to the Harvard study, Grayson's speeches and his congressional and campaign websites.

The last link stirred predictable objections from Republican political operatives who are not used to Democrats who take the health care debate seriously enough to try and win it.

"What is wrong with this man? Alan Grayson's morbid exploitation of ‘the dead' for personal political gain may be the most shameless stunt he's pulled yet," grumbled Andy Sere, spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee.

Sere and his compatriots -- who are paid to pull shameless stunts for political gain -- charged that Grayson had committed some kind of ethics violation. They weren't sure what kind exactly, but they wanted to get the term "ethics violation" in play.

As when congressional Republicans threatened to sanction him for bringing up the fact that people die when they are denied insurance and health care, Grayson responded with a cry of: Bring it on!

"Let them file a complaint," said the congressman, who reminded reporters that he had paid for the website with his own money. "I'm sure I'll be vindicated."

Actually, he's already been vindicated.

Opponents of health care reform are so desperately frightened by Grayson's tactics that they immediately attacked the "Names of the Dead" site and posted false names -- "Wile E. Coyote" and "Hugh G. Reckshinn" -- to mock the reality that Americans die because our insurance industry.

When your critics are reduced to making light of the innocent dead, you have won the debate.

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