Health Care Bites

The limits of civic discourse and modern medical science were tested in Los Angeles on Wednesday when a MoveOn.org protester whose feelings became inflamed over the issue of providing health care to all was moved to bite off part of the finger of a by-standard during the course of an altercation which broke out at a protest. Since the victim was 65, government health care was able to step in (in the form of Medicare) to provide care, but failed to succeed in reattaching the finger, which was severed at the first joint.

One man bit off part of another man’s finger when a health care reform demonstration turned violent.

William Rice said doctors did not reattach the bitten-off part of his left pinky after he got in the middle of a Southern California rally Wednesday night that he said was ”very scary.”

”I didn’t go out to demonstrate my beliefs, I happened to be driving by and I stopped to ask people what their purpose was,” Rice, 65, said in a telephone interview Thursday. ”I had no signs, I was not part of the demonstration.”

About 100 demonstrators in favor of health care reform had gathered on a Thousand Oaks street corner for an event organized by MoveOn.org. About 25 counterdemonstrators gathered across the street.

Rice declined to say Thursday which side of the debate he falls on.

Ventura County sheriff’s spokesman Eric Buschow said a confrontation erupted after the biter crossed from the MoveOn.org side of the street to the counterprotest, where Rice was standing.

A loud scuffle ensued, punches were thrown, and the tip of Rice’s finger was bitten off, Buschow said.

The biter fled before authorities arrived. He could face felony mayhem charges.

”We don’t know the identity of the man who bit the finger off,” Buschow said. ”We want to contact him and get his side of the story.”

Personally, I always tell my children “there’s no excuse for biting”, but that law may not be on the books in California, and it’s certainly important to make sure that the senior citizen was not violently shoving his pinky into an innocent MoveOn.org protester’s face or taunting him with shouts of “Pull my finger!”

Clearly, this presents a major teachable moment After all, this man might not have been able to get sufficient treatment had he not been covered by a government health care program: Medicare. Indeed, Medicare is a single payer system, such as many more progressive health care advocates support. Clearly, in a world where one never know when one’s finger will be bitten off by a crazed MoveOn.org protester, we need to have health care available to every American.

No word on whether, in light of this new realization, the health care bill will be renamed after a famous biter. The “Mike Tyson Memorial Health Care Bill” anyone?

(Thanks to Scott Carson who pointed me towards the link.)

12 Responses to Health Care Bites

  • Rick Lugari says:

    Yeah, I can really feel the love from that comment. Kum Ba Yah and all that.

    This is just one of those crazy events that happens. Opposing a government takeover of health care didn’t make the victim particularly obnoxious or even hypocritical. Not anymore than supporting it made the biter a cannibal or violent sociopath. Perhaps the former position draws the obnoxious to the battle and the later invites the cannibalistic. Heh, I was joking there, but when I think of how support for ObamaCare generally goes hand in hand with support for abortion, ESCR, and various immoral notions of end-of-life issues, maybe I’m on to something.

  • MacGregor says:

    The MoveOn’er was obviously over the top and fanatical and now, if he/she doesn’t come forward is obviously dishonest and a coward. I don’t agree with MoveOn and their tactics. Too bad the fanatics on both sides keep making the headlines and driving the debate. Maybe we need to put all of the MoveOn folks and the “birthers” that carry guns to presidential town halls in a room somewhere while the rest of the country actually participates in democracy.

  • MacGregor says:

    By the way, Rick, a public option is not necessarily a “government takeover of health care.” It could be, if done badly, but it does not have to be. Its good to stay skeptical. Just trying to keep it real.

  • Dr. says:

    MacGregor, if it’s “good to stay skeptical”, then I think we ought to remain skeptical of the government which has forced its way into private businesses (and has adopted the power to fire private employees, as at Ford). And what is the general trend, as evidenced yet again with the Van Jones fiasco and the snub to Poland? This government tends to do things badly. I think it is naive at best to assume that the government’s umbrella expansure over health care is really the best way to care for the poor and downtrodden.

  • John Henry says:

    I think it is naive at best to assume that the government’s umbrella expansure over health care is really the best way to care for the poor and downtrodden.

    I’d suggest it’s naive to assume the poor and downtrodden will be cared for absent some form of government assistance also. While it’s true that the government does some things badly – and I wouldn’t want a complete takeover of the health care system – I think expanded coverage for the ten million or so who are chronically underinsured would be a significant positive change.

  • Paul says:

    We are all adults here, and as adults we know there are consequences for are actions, so if you do not agree with his views on healthcare, you can a) do nothing, b) vote for him, c) not vote for him, d) protest and picket, its your choice, live the dream!

    It all comes down to what you believe, either you are your brother’s keeper or are not. The healthcare system is broken, even when you play by the rules, because even when you are working and come down with something serious the insurance company can deny your claim and you are stuck using you own funds and filing for bankruptcy when these same insurance companies are paying out bonuses to those employees that deny claims and on top of that the same companies show record profits. We are already paying for emergency room care anyway for those without healthcare, it makes sense to me to cover everyone and not pay 10-20 times more for emergency room care.

  • The healthcare system is broken, even when you play by the rules, because even when you are working and come down with something serious the insurance company can deny your claim and you are stuck using you own funds and filing for bankruptcy when these same insurance companies are paying out bonuses to those employees that deny claims and on top of that the same companies show record profits.

    Is any of this based in reality? There’s almost nothing which could be considered standard care of a serious illness, condition or injury which will be denied by a normal employer based insurance policy. Not only have I never had it happen to me, but I don’t know anyone who has had it happen to them, despite knowing people with diabetes, cancer, chronic heart disease, pregnancy complications, etc. (When people run into problems is when they want a treatment their doctor doesn’t think they need, want an experimental treatment, or have to pay a significant percentage of all outlays and simply run up to much in co-insurance payments to be able to afford it.)

    Not only are most insurance companies not reporting “record profits” at the moment (indeed, profits are down for many all insurers in the last couple quarters), but in the vast, vast majority of cases there is no single employee out there reviewing your claim and trying to deny it. Indeed, there are generally standard payment schedules and so long as you are trying to get care which your doctor thinks you need, you won’t have any problems.

    There are plenty of things that are silly or unfair about the health care status quo, but simply making stuff up about it is unproductive. And acting as if health care is identical to the nightmare insurance company in The Incredibles is pointless.

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