Sen. Ron Johnson: businesses should be allowed to deny health insurance to cancer patients

Watch as Wisconsin’s soon-to-be senior Senator Ron Johnson explains his belief that businesses should be allowed to deny health insurance to cancer patients because “our nation was based on the foundation of freedom and limited government.” (via Thinkprogress:

Here’s the transcript of Sen. Johnson’s comments.

KEYES: I know Richard Murdock had said even though businesses should give people, for instance, with cancer, health coverage, they shouldn’t be legally required by the federal government.

JOHNSON: They shouldn’t. Listen, our rights are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. And when we start expanding beyond that realm, when you create a right for somebody, you create an obligation for somebody else, and then you’re taking away that person’s right. And that maybe doesn’t seem all that great, but it’s just true. Our nation was based on the foundation of freedom and limited government.

Ron Johnson’s message to those stricken by cancer? “Your employer shouldn’t have to pay for your insurance – go ahead and die already!”


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19 thoughts on “Sen. Ron Johnson: businesses should be allowed to deny health insurance to cancer patients



  2. With mentality like Ron Johnson’s, why stop at cancer an employer could deny people with diabetes, kidney failure (which costs 3000 a week) and heart disease. All sick people you are on your own. Ron Johnson is an apathetic fool. I can’t wait for the death panels to be a talking point again, gag me with a stethoscope.

  3. As was explained earlier this week by one of our commentors and by many in the blogosphere over the past year or so…LIFE, LIBERTY AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS are not Constitutionally protected rights but are instead delineated in the Declaration of Independence.

    BTW: what about being healthy is detrimental to pursuit of happiness?

  4. Even if RoJo was correct in thinking our “rights” are to life, liberty and happiness, how is a business decision to deny health coverage to a worker with cancer consistent with “life” or with “happiness”? It might make employer RoJo happy, but it might well deny at least two of those three “rights” to his workers. That’s what democracy is about: Making sure rights apply to everyone, not just the elites. Further: The constitution and Bill of Rights have said zip about any rights applying to corporate entities; those rights have been wholly made up by reactionary Supreme Court majorities over the past century or so.

  5. Ron Johnson is an immoral man. His patent ignorance of limited government and the issues regarding concentration of power the American colonies struggled against is shameful. What he suggests is precisely the opposite of what the enlightened thinkers who designed our government intended. Nor did they intend the Constitution to be read by posterity as a static document or as a weapon to be wielded against the people for whom it was written.

    Ron Johnson is committing treachery against the people of Wisconsin and all the people of the nation affected by his Anti-Patriotic elitism. He is unfit to govern because his self-serving distortions of history will only serve to destroy the government. Ron Johnson is not a representative of responsible conservatism. Ron Johnson is an Anti-Government extremist.

    Ron Johnson would do well to study hard on the words he so carelessly recites and in so doing remember Thomas Paine, who so eloquently articulated the role of government in protecting the people against tyranny of class or station.

    “Man did not enter into society to become worse than he was before, not to have fewer rights than before, but to have those rights better secured.”
    ~Thomas Paine

    1. “Ron Johnson is an immoral man.”

      And a hypocrite to his assertion that he is “definitely pro-life” as noted at:

      How can Johnson be “definitely pro-life” when he advocates “that business should be allowed to deny health insurance to cancer patients” or am I missing something here? Doesn’t denying health insurance to a cancer victim constitute an abortion or great economic difficulty in sustaining the life of a fully developed, delivered fetus achieving maturity beyond the womb? Or is it a business decision to abandon a worker his right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness because he has cancer and is no longer relevant or useful to the corporate entity?

      Either way, it is immoral.

      We need another recall based upon Johnson’s idiotic and uncaring statements endorsing life-ending solutions, both economic and physical, for Wisconsin workers, public and private, by denying health insurance when it is most needed to sustain life.

      Is Johnson’s solution a “crime against humanity?”

      Unbelievable !!!

      1. Yeah, RoJo’s pro-life only when those lives are fetuses. When those lives happen to be real live people, he’s all for letting them die so a business owner can enjoy a little more “liberty,” nevermind the rights of those who are sick to actually continuing living.

  6. Guys, we should be sending early thank you notes to RoJo for making the case for a government funded, single payer universal health care system for us. This is manna from heaven.

    1. Point well taken, Rich. Indeed. He does make a good case for easing the burden of healthcare from businesses and placing it into the sphere it belongs – the public sphere where where payment and delivery of services can be more efficiently and cost effectively administered by the government.

  7. Can we save taxpayer money by switching RoJo’s insurance to the non-cancer-coverage policy please?

  8. Hello, hello, Archbishop Listecki? Are you listening to one of the faithful?

    Obviously, the caution in your letter to our Wisconsin legislators, including the Fitzgeralds, last year went unheeded in not considreing “Rerum Novraum,” if not their rejection of Catholic teachings on rights of workers to form, join, and be represented by unions. I feel your concern and that of the workers.

    Okay, Archbishop Listecki, you failed, but denying health insurance to workers such as that by Senator Johnson of late, is immoral denying the examples in the theme of the Beautitudes.

    My Latin, “Sobrii estote” be wakeful and watchful applies to the betrayal of Ron Johnson; he is not one of us.

    Where are you, Archbishop Listecki?

  9. Ron Johnson exemplifies the gentrification of “job creators” and “business” in addition to the wealthy elite that is at the crux of Tea Party revisionism. It really is an unconscionable view of society. By distorting America’s founders they’ve created a suite of cultural values to justify an extortionist class which abdicates all responsibility on the part of the extortionist business class in transactions between “job creators” and workers, but also between “job creators” and society as a whole. They’ve done so by propagandizing distortions of America’s founding principles. They’ve twisted and transformed “liberty” into “narcissism.” Tea Party propaganda has created a mercenary culture to legitimize and uphold the elite extortionist class.

    Ron Johnson’s comment here reinforces the idea that there is no mutual benefit, no reciprocation of responsible expectations between business and working people. This is a frightening development and all should take the implications of what Johnson says very seriously. His view points toward an excessively dysfunctional society which has not evolved to this point organically or by adopting any American principles but from decisive coercion by the extortionist class. The extortionist elite have created a caste system in America make no mistake about that.

  10. I think calling Ron Johnson immoral gives him too much credit. What he is, is an imbecile. If you’ve ever heard him speak, he’s just barely able to spit out the Republican pablum and still maintain subject-verb-object sentence structure. His intellect is approximately half the intellect of the man he defeated, Russ Feingold. Which is sad, for Russ, for Wisconsin, and for the nation.

    I doubt he has a single original thought. Look for more of these bought-and-paid-for shills to populate the houses of Congress, unless we organize and campaign more effectively in future.

    1. Immoral and imbecile are not mutually exclusive within the Tea Party realm. Willful immorality issues from willful ignorance. You are quite right – Ron Johnson has demonstrated no evidence of any capability for original thought. That inflexibility which results in immoral leadership is what renders he and his ilk so hazardous to a republican democracy. Decisions which impact the nation made upon immoral foundations amount to little more than treachery and betrayal of the public trust.

      But out of the frying pan and into the fire is no solution either. Much of the Democratic approach to governance varies only in degree – it is still the same evil, just a lesser evil. Organizing and campaigning for whom? With which antithetical principles? There are few Feingolds, Graysons, and Sanders – esque politicians to choose from on the Left. The Democratic Establishment does not represent a divergence from monied interests nor does it favor the people’s interest over that of big business. The Democratic Establishment still clings to the notion that our economy (our out of control global investment economy) is still best managed by ethereal “free market” forces (forces which are not actually free but determined by extortionist investors) rather than the government itself – which would be an economy managed by the people.

      The upside of Democratic governance is a modicum of recognition for the people’s needs, so at least there is some moral sense injected into their approach. But fundamentally, their approach is not people first. It is business first. What’s good for Wall Street is not good for Main Street, but the Democratic Establishment continues to believe otherwise.

  11. Would Johnson also include Lt. Gov. Kleefisch in cancelling her health insurance coverage? Was it her fault that she was diagnosed with colon cancer just before the 2010 primary?

    Fortunately, it was caught in time and she is currently cancer free. Thank God!

    But what kind of compassionate conservative would utter such inhumane words as did Johnson?

    He is not only inhumane and immoral, but unworthy to hold the high office of senator representing the people of Wisconsin.

  12. My wife who is a cancer survivor agrees with Mr Johnson, all he is saying that government needs to stop regulations our lives, not that people should be denied insurance. Where does government control of our lives end?

  13. The government does not control my life; it protects and enables my right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

    Instead, Walker, Johnson, et al are conspiring to privatize and replace a “government of the people, by the people, and for the people” at local, state, and national levels with the Koch brothers, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Pharma, health care insurance industry, Heritage Foundation, various Church’s dogma, citizens united, the Waltons, and others. The list is endless of those who serve and reward their own interests to the detriment of the common good.

    The argument by some that government is “controlling” and/or “regulating” our lives would be laughable if it was not so false and dangerous.

  14. JWayne,

    First, Many blessings to your wife for many more years of being cancer free, but with all due respect, simply stating that government needs to stop regulating our lives and asking “Where does government control of our lives end?” are emotive attitudes and fine little straw men but do not demonstrate any reasoning through the issues at hand and certainly does not reflect any cogitation upon the complexities embedded within the proper role of government. We can all see what Ron Johnson is saying, but what he is saying distorts what the designers of this government intended. What he is saying is flat out wrong. First, our rights aren’t just Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness – those are declared principles of separation and they are rights to be secured and protected by the creation of government. They haven’t anything to do, functionally, with articles of governance that limit the concentration of power. I dare say by declaring that “when we start expanding beyond that realm, when you create a right for somebody, you create an obligation for somebody else, then you are taking away that person’s right…” he’s torquing the Bill of Rights into an unrecognizable knot – The Bill of Rights was included as a compromise on condition it not be construed with exclusivity nor were any rights to be defined as such if they limited other rights or disparaged other rights in any way – rights of the people, plural took precedence. The Bill of Rights was never intended to be a finalized short list of conferred rights where succeeding generations could not apply the needs of their own time. Rights are conferred onto succeeding generations, not created by them. Governments are created to confer rights – that’s the whole point of the Constitution, not limiting our rights. Government regulates. Government taxes and spends. These are functional actions of government – It’s how government protects and secures rights. Suspending that role and crippling active government is not what the founders intended. The founders wanted government to play an active role in responding to the needs of the citizenry and their interests, precisely because the British monarchy and parliamentary aristocrats did not. The founders wanted hands-off with respect to monarchy and gentrified parasites, but they definitely wanted hands-on with respect to their own American governing system. And for that matter hands-on with the American economy as well. Regulatory measures are one of the government’s “tools” for protecting rights and securing liberties. And dare anyone be reminded that as much as Ron Johnson and Conservatives would like “freedom” as articulated in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution to mean “free” market or “free” ride, it does not. Rights are imbued with responsibilities – personal responsibility and social responsibility. Sure Johnson doesn’t like the obligations and responsibilities of being in business, but any regulatory measures that intervene between Johnson and the public are entirely appropriate by the standards of the founding fathers. Regulations are not private-life control measures. That’s propagandist distortion and it encourages the citizenry to turn against their own government as you are doing now, JWayne. Ron Johnson is distorting our founding documents and wielding them as a weapon. If you don’t understand our founding documents then you are likely to simply accept this Radically Extremist position as innocuous. It is not. With all due respect, if you want to take control of your own life, start with educating yourself on American History and the historical bases for Republican governments and democracies.

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