As the 2014 midterm elections ramp up, liberal media have are pinning the death of a Florida woman on Republicans.
“Democrats Need to Start Blaming the GOP for the Death of Charlene Dill” is the title of a recent piece by Brian Beutler at the New Republic, and others are agreeing with him.
Dill, a 32-year-old vacuum saleswoman, collapsed and died last month from a heart condition at an Orlando-area home where she was working. She left behind three children.
The reason Beutler and others are attributing Dill’s death to Republicans is because she fell within the “Medicaid gap,” meaning her she earned too much money to be eligible for Medicaid but not enough to qualify for subsidies to buy a private health-care plan. In Florida, Republican lawmakers opted not to expand the program over concerns that the federal government would not follow through in funding in the coming years.
Dill’s death came to the forefront after the Orlando Weekly, an alternative newspaper, published the story earlier this month. Reporter Billy Manes labeled her one of “victims of a political war,” and repeatedly laid blame for her death at the feet of the GOP.
The left-wing media immediately joined in. The next day, ThinkProgress put up a post titled “This 32-Year-Old Florida Woman Is Dead Because Her State Refused To Expand Medicaid.” The post went on to cite findings by Harvard researchers stating up to 17,000 people will die nationwide as a result of not expanding Medicaid.
MSNBC also exploited Dill’s death as a weapon against Republicans, with Al Sharpton’s show hitting the GOP particularly hard. In the past week, the reverend has brought up the story multiple times. For example, during a panel discussion on last week, fellow MSNBC host Krystal Ball said she “can’t even imagine how they can justify” not expanding Medicaid following Dill’s death, calling it “absolutely unconscionable.”
Salon’s Joan Walsh echoed Ball’s comments days later, expecting to hear more examples like Dill’s due to Republicans. “Politicians used to care about those people, but they don’t anymore,” she told Sharpton.
Other MSNBC hosts made similar comments. Alex Wagner blamed Dill’s death on “ideological and absurd grandstanding” by Republicans, and predicated three to six deaths every day as a result of these policies. Meanwhile, Joy Reid flatly agreed with Beutler’s advice “to start blaming the GOP for the death of Charlene Dill.”
As MSNBC and others hurl these claims at Republicans, even Beutler acknowledges the speculative and evidence-free nature of the accusation. But he encourages the left to push forward anyway. “Liberals writ large don’t actually need to make any unprovable claims to deploy Dill’s story in service of a very strong argument,” he writes.
Unfortunately, it isn’t only lefty talking heads making the claims: at least one elected Democratic official is too. In Manes’s Weekly piece, he speaks with Democratic Representative and perennial loudmouth Alan Grayson.
“The Republicans would literally rather watch people like Charlene die than give them the care that they need to stay healthy and alive,” the congressman told Manes. “It’s disgusting and sadistic.”
The Beutler version of Dill’s story has gotten wide circulation on the web and social media, and while there’s not much evidence that it’s making a dent in public opinion, the Democrats are desperate for anything they think might divert attention from Obamacare’s unpopularity ahead of the November elections. Look for more allegations about Republicans Dill’s death.
— Andrew Johnson is an editorial associate at National Review Online .