It turns out that former Nevada Senate Republican candidate Sue Lowden, who lost her primary June 8 after a phenomenal self-destruction known as “Chickens For Checkups,” was not the first politician to voice a nostalgic approval for the days when people would pay a doctor by bartering live poultry. As it turns out, that “honor” goes to Rep. Ben Chandler (D-KY), a Blue Dog who voted against health care reform, in some newly-revealed video from November 2009.
As Greg Sargent reports, the video shows a woman who opposed the bill, speaking positively about how her family would pay for their own health care when she was younger. “They didn’t have any kind of health insurance, they went to the doctor, and we paid for the call,” the woman told Chandler.
Chandler then responded positively: “When you didn’t have money, you gave him a chicken. You could barter if you didn’t have enough money.”The Chandler campaign told Greg: “Yes, and of course before we had electricity, people burned oil lamps. Before we had automobiles, people used horse transport.”
They also just sent Greg a second statement: “Congressman Chandler was noting a rural historical practice first raised in conversation by a constituent. His comments had nothing to do with the present healthcare debate. To claim otherwise is a distortion of the truth.”
Granted, this isn’t as bad as what Sue Lowden did, when she doubled down on barter as a positive policy idea for the here and now. “Let’s change the system and talk about what the possibilities are. I’m telling you that this works. You know, before we all started having health care, in the olden days, our grandparents, they would bring a chicken to the doctor. They would say I’ll paint your house,” Lowden said in April, also adding: “I’m not backing down from that system.”
Lowden then went on to become a national laughingstock, and lost her primary.