Michele Bachmann speaks to a Tea Party crowd protesting at the Supreme Court on Tuesday.Republican congressman Steve King of Iowa supports banning federal funding for Planned Parenthood, is in favor of mandatory ultrasounds before abortion for any reason, and says that states should be able to ban birth control. But on Tuesday he stood in front of the Supreme Court, where justices are debating the constitutionality of parts of the Obama administration's Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and told them to "Keep your law off my body!"
"I don't want my body commandeered," he told the crowd, ignoring his own well-documented positions on women's health issues and reproductive rights. "You are the one that must be able to manage that health. Nobody else should be sticking their nose in it."
At the center of the health care debate is the Affordable Care Act's "individual mandate" that fines people who choose not to get health insurance. Conservatives have been vocally against it from the moment Obama first suggested it -- even though it was originally a Conservative idea, promoted by the Heritage Foundation and introduced in bills by Republicans not once, but twice in 1993. Obama adopted it, virtually unchanged, for the Affordable Care Act, and many of it's opponents now -- like Utah Senator Orrin Hatch and Iowa Senator Charles Grassley -- were sponsors of the bill back then.
On Tuesday, though, Tea Party protesters were oblivious to the irony, holding signs and chanting slogans like "Real women buy their own birth control!," "Obamacare is immoral," and "We will not comply!"
"We have not waved the white flag of surrender on socialized medicine!" Minnesota congresswoman and former GOP presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann told the crowd, warning them that soon the government might claim the right to make them buy vegetables.
While the Affordable Care Act does expand parts of Medicaid, it's main focus is on regulating the private health insurance industry and does not nationalize health care. Contrary to what Rush Limbaugh has said, the law also doesn't force taxpayers to pay for other people's birth control pills; it requires private health insurance companies to waive the co-payment on certain forms of FDA-approved contraceptives. (Health insurers, who currently pay anywhere from $9,000 to $25,000 for each uncomplicated hospital birth, largely have not spoken out against having to pay a few hundred dollars in copayments in order to avoid paying thousands in hospital bills.) Most of the cost-saving provisions of the bill have not yet been enacted -- they're slated to go into effect in 2014 and 2015.
But, as far as King is concerned, many people don't really need health insurance at all.
"I will tell you that there has always been, in every decade, in every state, some people who were born, lived some long, healthy lives, and died without engaging in health care whatsoever, let alone health insurance," he told the crowd.
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