Members of the conservative Tea Party movement congregated for a march on Washington this week to protest President Obama’s Affordable Care Act.
“We as Americans are granted certain inalienable rights and freedoms which we hold dear,” said event organizer Brett Daniels. “Chief among those is the right to an early and easily preventable death due to lack of comprehensive health coverage.”
Jared Allgood, a protestor who had traveled hours from his home state of Tennessee to attend the march, agreed. “Maybe I don’t want the government deciding that it’s not yet my time to go,” he said. “Maybe I’d rather a faceless claims representative from a private health insurance company rule that treatment for bone cancer is not covered by my insurance plan, thereby deciding that it actually IS my time to go, the way God and the free market intended,” he said.
Opponents of the universal mandate requiring that all Americans purchase health insurance are also quick to point out that not every American has the same needs as far as health coverage goes.
“Isn’t it possible that some of us want to experience the agony of untreated emphysema, or to watch as our children succumb to treatable infections because we lack access to affordable antibiotics?” Allgood added. “Why are we being denied the freedom to choose suffering and early death for ourselves and our loved ones?”
“America is one of the few remaining developed nations in the world where citizens still have the freedom to die from easily treatable diseases because they are unable to afford the costs of treatment,” said senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina, a headlining speaker at the event. “It is our duty as patriots to fight to keep that privilege alive, or it is in danger of perishing faster than an uninsured thirty-year-old American with kidney failure.”
“The Declaration of Independence granted Americans the right to the pursuit of happiness,” DeMint said during his opening remarks, which were greeted by cheers from the enthusiastic crowd.
“Why can’t that include the joy and dignity that comes from a slow, painful decline into premature oblivion from a disease which could have been eradicated early on had it been detected through low-cost preventative screenings?” he asked. “And what about the deep satisfaction which comes from losing your family’s entire life savings to an astronomical and indecipherable medical bill after an unexpected and uninsured trip to the emergency room?”
Later that afternoon, a scheduling error which caused Tea Party protestors to mingle with “Right to Life” anti-abortion protesters led to a confused, agitated stand-off between the two groups. Although group leaders insist that the resulting conflict was satisfactorily resolved, it did cause both demonstrations to end earlier than planned.