Explaining Republican Attitudes Toward Healthcare

 Medical School Mural I, by Sam Blackman

Medical School Mural I, by Sam Blackman

With the mid-term elections coming up, healthcare has become a hot-button issue on the campaign trail. And while Democrats are preoccupied with preserving coverage for people with pre-existing conditions and providing “Medicare for all,” considerably less attention is being paid to the Republican perspective on healthcare. No one thinks to ask: When people get sick, what do Republicans think should happen to them?

The popular explanation for this oversight is that Republicans don’t get sick, owing to the fact that they eat a lot of red meat and avoid fresh vegetables—which, as everyone knows, contain liberal-leaning enzymes that affect people’s brains and make them want to shop at Whole Foods. If Republicans don’t get sick, the logic goes, they don’t need hospitals and doctors and all the fancy equipment that makes the American healthcare system such a Clinton-esque boondoggle. 

This theory is only partially true. Republicans do get sick—they just have radically different ideas about how to deal with their infirmities.

For example, one of the reasons that Republicans think Democrats are such weenies is that whenever they get a sniffle or a cough, Democrats go immediately to their doctor to find out what’s wrong. Their doctor tells them the obvious—that they have a cold—and charges the Democrat $80,000 for an insight that any reasonably competent Republican mother could have told them for free. To Republicans and their mothers, the whole “go see a doctor” trope is a scam, and if Democrats would just use some common sense when they get hives and start vomiting blood, they could save a lot of money. 

What Democrats don’t understand about attitudes toward healthcare on the other side of the aisle is that self-sufficiency is everything to Republicans. Only the weak need doctors and surgeons and nurses to help them when they are sick, and only the stupid would agree to pay thousands of dollars for services that any clever do-it-your-selfer could provide for less than twenty bucks. 

For example, if a Democrat breaks their leg and goes to the hospital to get it fixed, it’s going to cost them a small fortune. But when a Republican breaks their leg, they don’t immediately run to the nearest emergency room; instead, they find a helpful Youtube video and figure out how to set the break themselves. Chewing on a rag soaked in whiskey is all the painkiller a devout Republican needs, and re-breaking a bone to straighten it is like an angel’s kiss in the pain department compared to watching ten minutes of CNN.

“People forget that they can set broken bones themselves,” says Jordan Crane, a 58-year-old machinist who snapped his leg in three places when he kicked his 65-inch TV during a speech by Barack Obama back in 2014. “It’s not as hard as people think,” Crane says, “and you can save a bundle.” And though he doesn’t know why, Crane says women are more attracted to him now. “Maybe they like a guy who limps,” he says, “or dudes with one leg that’s six inches shorter than the other.”

The same goes for expensive surgeries that Democrats think the government ought to pay for. Republicans aren’t fooled by all the self-important drama surrounding surgery and all its supposed complications. Republicans like to keep it simple, so when a Republican needs surgery they just go to a drawer in the kitchen and grab an X-acto knife. That and a few cotton swabs are all anyone really needs to do most surgeries, and then it’s just a matter of slicing yourself open and digging out the offending organ. True, even the most dedicated Republican will admit that help from a wife or girlfriend might be necessary to sew the wound up neatly, but a staple gun will do in a pinch. 

Republicans feel the same way about dentistry. Nothing irks Republicans more than Democrats who think they need to go to the dentist every time a tooth hurts. There isn’t a Republican alive who doesn’t have a pair of needle-nosed pliers in their garage, and as every Republican knows, it only takes about two seconds to grab onto a rotting molar and yank it out. As it explains in the official Republican policy statement on dental care, “That’s why God gave us so many extra teeth.” 

Democrats think Republicans are cruel for not wanting to provide every American alive with a comfy security blanket when they get sick, but nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, the thing Republicans know that Democrats don’t is how much more precious life feels when you’re not quite sure if you’re going to die or not. Pain, too, can be a spiritual wake-up call, especially if you black out and think you died, but didn’t, and wake up to find out that God has a little more suffering in store for you. 

In any case, Republicans don’t have a replacement program for Obamacare, or any other kind of care, because deep down they believe that Democrats are bleeding the nation dry with all this nonsense about health. $3 trillion just to keep Democrats alive? Please. If Republicans ever got their way, so-called “healthcare” would cost less then $100 per year, there’d be a lot more money to go around, and loads of namby-pamby Democrats would die simply because they don’t know how to cauterize a wound with a soldering iron. 

So, as you can see, Democrats and Republicans have entirely different perspectives on the issue of personal health. And when it comes time to vote, it helps to understand what those differences are. Say what you will about Republican attitudes toward healthcare, but it is refreshing to know that American ingenuity is alive and well, even if some who have embraced it are not. Because yes, you can stitch yourself up with a staple gun, but disinfecting the wound with engine grease is a mistake. Experienced Republican mothers use bathroom caulk for that kind of thing, and take their savings straight to the bank.