Want to know what's happening next in healthcare?

MedCityNews is the leading online news source for the business of innovation in healthcare.


“MedCity is invaluable among the many sources of industry reporting because the team endeavor to bring the truly new, and innovative opportunities and developments to light.”

Ken Kirby, President, Transdermal Delivery Solutions Corp


Sign up for our daily newsletter


Birth control, viagra & other healthcare pearls from O’Reilly & Stewart’s mock debate (video)

October 9, 2012 12:22 pm by | 0 Comments

It was billed as the Rumble in the Air-Conditioned Auditorium – an epic battle between Jon Stewart, the astute God of Comedy Central who hosts the Daily Show with Jon Stewart and Bill O’Reilly, the star political commentator of the O’Reilly Factor on Fox News.

Stewart typically takes liberal positions although he is known to wield his comedic sarcasm at hapless Democrats, including President Obama, once in a while. O’Reilly of course is the conservative political commentator who commands a large audience weeknights. Rumble2012 was billed as a a mock debate to rival all debates and amidst talk of Iran, Afghanistan and other issues, healthcare made quite an appearance too.

“I left two tickets  for Sandra [Fluke] plus a month’s supply of birth control pills at ‘will call.’ Is she hear tonight? No, she’s not. Sandra, buy your own,” said O’Reilly holding up a placard that said ‘Buy Your Own.’

In case you missed it, Fluke, a law student from Georgetown University invited the ire of Republicans, including talk show host Rush Limbaugh, when she provided Congressional testimony over the importance of having health insurance cover birth control.

Stewart did not hold back on listening to O’Reilly’s admonition of Fluke. He shot back:

“The issues that we face revolve around a woman from Georgetown [University] who wanted birth control, which is a health issue for women covered on her health insurance the same way that Viagra is covered,” Stewart shot back.

This is an argument that has made news in the last presidential election. Remember how John McCain painfully tried to answer questions on this issue?

Stewart and O’Reilly also wrangled over who should pay for healthcare. When asked how they would change healthcare, O’Reilly first began with a joke.

“I would take care of this arthritis epidemic,” he said as the audience broke out in laughter. “It’s wiping us out.”

But when Stewart directly asked O’Reilly, whether everyone should have healthcare insurance, is when an interesting exchange occurred.

O’Reilly: “I think everyone should have access to it. Do I think we should pay for people’s healthcare who are able bodied? No.

Stewart: Should we pay for veterans’ healthcare?

O’Reilly: Yes.

Stewart: Should we pay for it cause they deserve the best?

O’Reilly: They should have what my father had when he came back from World War II – they should have discounted healthcare premiums just like they got discounted mortgages. They should be rewarded for their service.

Stewart: So they should have the best healthcare they should have …

O’Reilly: Well, the healthcare…

Stewart: … the system that we have is the best that they can have. The best that we can offer in this country?

O’Reilly: No, no, no I think the entire healthcare system needs to be reorganized in this country.

Stewart: In what way?

O’Reilly: It has to be basically run by insurance companies, not the government, alright? Listen to me. Listen to me. LISTEN TO ME. (as audience boos and Stewart covers his eyes with his tie ) I don’t want to have to come down there.
You have the private insurance companies. However, they have mandates. They can’t throw you off if you are sick. They have to keep basically …

Stewart: Did you say mandates? (as audience laughs and cheers)

O’Reilly. Yes, mandates. The government has an oversight capacity. Doesn’t take it over cause the government is going to screw it up. They have oversight capacity AND the insurance companies compete nationwide. The lizard can go to all the states. Right now, you can’t do that. That drives it down – the cost of health insurance.

Stewart took a different tack.

“Here’s what I would do with healthcare. I would decouple it from work. I would make sure that employers are not responsible for the healthcare (of their employees). What that would do is free people up in to have more mobility in terms of changing jobs, in terms of not worrying about getting sick that might put them into bankruptcy, in terms of all those types of situations that we are in now and the only way to do that is through a single payer system….

O’Reilly: You want government to run it , alright. So that’s where it’s going to break down. The government is not set up to do it.

Stewart: This goes to a fundamental point. Some people say that the government that governs least governs best. I say that the government that governs best governs best. The problem that we have is that you look at this situation and you say government cant do the job. They are not set up for it.

And the exchange continued with Stewart pushing back on the idea that government is too incompetent to run a complicated healthcare industry. He said that O’Reilly could trust the government to make bombs and go to war but not run healthcare.

O’ Reilly shot back saying that doctors themselves don’t like Obamacare, concluding: ”You can have government regulation of it. You can’t have government run it.

The spirited debate with all its entertainment perhaps may be summed up best by Mark Twain’s famous words that said ‘East is East, West west and never the twain shall meet.’

Watch the full Rumble here. The long healthcare exchange begins at the 1:05:32 mark.

Copyright 2014 MedCity News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Arundhati Parmar

By Arundhati Parmar

Arundhati Parmar is the Medical Devices Reporter at MedCity News. She has covered medical technology since 2008 and specialized in business journalism since 2001. Parmar has three degrees from three continents - a Bachelor of Arts in English from Jadavpur University, Kolkata, India; a Masters in English Literature from the University of Sydney, Australia and a Masters in Journalism from Northwestern University in Chicago. She has sworn never to enter a classroom again.
More posts by Author

0 comments

Hear the latest news first

Get our daily newsletter or follow us.

Advertisement