A Republican lawmaker who previously worked as a doctor is under fire after saying poor people “just don’t want health care and aren’t going to take care of themselves.”
The House Republicans released their health care plan on Monday to intense criticism from both liberals and conservatives, with some estimates predicting as many as one in six people could lose health insurance under the GOP plan.
Rep. Roger Marshall, a Republican from Kansas, made his comments during an interview with STAT, a health care-focused website. Many saw his remarks as insensitive and out of touch.
The deplorable remarks came in an interview last week when Marshall was talking about Medicaid, which expanded to more than 30 states under Obamacare, including Republican states.
The Congressman told the website he does not believe Medicaid has helped people. “Just like Jesus said, ‘The poor will always be with us,’” Marshall said in the interview. “There is a group of people that just don’t want health care and aren’t going to take care of themselves.”
He added that “morally, spiritually, socially,” poor people and homeless people “just don’t want health care.”
Health advocates struck back. “These are people who are out there, working hard, paying their bills, and to have their elected member of Congress pointing their finger at them I’m sure is disappointing,” David Jordan, executive director of the Alliance for a Healthy Kansas, told the Kansas City Star.
In defending himself, Marshall said he was trying to explain that creating a national health care policy focused on “one segment of the population” does not work because of various peoples’ needs, according to the Washington Post.