On Krauthammer, lactation services, and wheelchairs

Conservatives hate homosexuals until their sons come out. They loathe chisellers until the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion covers their cancer. “I don’t know about you, but I don’t need lactation services,” Charles Krauthammer wrote yesterday, flashing his typical sneer.

In an ice cold blog post, Jonathan Chait pushes him against the wall:

Krauthammer himself has been a paraplegic since the age of 22. That’s an expensive medical condition. Probably he has group insurance through the Washington Post or another institution with which he’s affiliated, allowing him to spread the cost of his expensive medical care onto a risk pool that includes healthier, cheaper-to-cover people. Or perhaps he has a different arrangement. I do not for one moment resent that my insurance helps cover either childbirth or mechanized wheelchairs, even though I personally need neither service, and nothing Krauthammer says would make me reconsider.

It is callous enough that Republicans apply their every-man-for-himself logic to health care, and land on the belief that those fortunate enough to be blessed with good health should not be burdened with the cost of paying for the medical needs of others. But when the advocate of this argument himself has expensive medical needs, the callousness rises to a level of solipsistic barbarism. A paraplegic man resents having to pay for women who need help breastfeeding their babies. Why should those women have to buy insurance that covers wheelchairs?

I am not a fan of Chait, whose tendency to stamp his feet when readers get cross with his occasional spasms of reactionary thought comes through a couple times a quarter, but I can’t better this.

The defining tendency of conservatism is a want of imagination.

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