Is Coburn’s ‘Die Sooner’ The Same As Grayson’s ‘Die Quickly’?

Republicans howled with outrage when Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) said that the Republican health care plan was for people who get sick to “die quickly.” So we thought it would be fun to check in with some of them about Sen. Coburn’s (R-OK) remark that seniors will be told to “die sooner” under the Dems’ bill in the Senate.

I asked NRCC spokesman Andy Seré — who has frequently criticized Grayson’s (D-FL) outspoken attacks against the Republicans — what difference there could be between the two. Seré told me that Grayson’s signs and theatrical approach are important.

“I think what Alan Grayson did was go on to the floor of the House with ready-made props, in an attempt to get on TV and make noise, and followed it up with several intentionally inflammatory and hyper-partisan statements,” said Seré, “So I think that is what made the Grayson comments so disturbing, it was all about him.”

“Grayson accused Republicans of wanting people to die,” Seré added. “That is a wildly irresponsible indictment of what’s in the hearts of half of his constituents.”Coburn spokesman John Hart also rejected the comparison: “Here’s the difference. Dr. Coburn doesn’t believe his opponents want seniors to die sooner. He’s questioning their judgment, ideas and policies, not motives. He simply believes the Reid bill will have that effect because those who wrote the legislation lack any real world medical expertise and are relying on the same tired ideology that believes more government is the solution to every problem.”

When asked to respond to Coburn’s remarks, Harry Reid spokesman Jim Manley told us: “Same old stuff, different day from a guy with serious credibility issues. The truth about what will happen to Americans’ health care if we don’t pass reform is scary enough without Senator Coburn’s lies about what will happen if we do. In reality, our bill will save lives, save money and save Medicare.”

Hart shot back at Manley as part of a group of “unelected staffers, political hacks and career politicians and lawyers in Washington” who don’t know medicine — and also said that voters in Nevada and elsewhere should “apply comparative effectiveness research of their own and ration the terms of elected officials in Washington.”

Here’s Hart’s statement to us:

“Jim Manley offers no facts about the Reid bill because he has none on his side. The American people don’t support the Reid bill because it will increase costs, ration care, cut Medicare and, as David Broder wrote, ‘bust the budget’. The Reid bill is a more of the same government-centered, rather than patient-centered, approach we’ve seen for decades. Soon enough voters in Nevada and across the country will have a chance to apply comparative effectiveness research of their own and ration the terms of elected officials in Washington who support the Reid bill.”

“Also, the last place Dr. Coburn, a practicing physician, looks for lessons in continuing medical education is to unelected staffers, political hacks and career politicians and lawyers in Washington who have never delivered care to a single patient, much less entire classes of patients.”

Grayson’s office did not return our requests for comment. A spokesperson for the AARP, which is supporting the health care reform effort (but has thus far not committed to the current Senate bill), declined to comment immediately.