Louise Slaughter: New Favorite Congresswoman


Yesterday’s health care summit may have featured only four women, but one of them, Representative Louise Slaughter, managed to make a pretty big impression.

Slaughter, who represents western New York and is the chairwoman of the House Rules Committee, has been a critic of the Senate bill from the left, arguing that it subsidized the private insurance market, and pushing for the public option. She got attention yesterday for talking about a constituent of hers who was forced to wear her dead sister’s dentures because she couldn’t afford her own, but the rest of her remarks are also worth attention, including these:

I believe that all Americans should be treated the same. Let me give you a little history on that. Eight states have declared that domestic violence is a pre-existing condition on the grounds, I assume, that if you’re unlucky enough to get yourself beat up once, you might go around and do it again. 48% is the higher cost for women who, in many cases, have to go buy their own insurance. Believe you me, that is really discriminatory. In 1991, women were not included in any of the trials at the NIH because we had hormones. It wasn’t until we had a critical mass of women here [Congress] that we said, “This will not do for more than half the population of the United States who pay taxes.” That we made certain that diseases like osteoporosis, mainly a women’s disease, cervical cancer, only a women’s disease, uterine cancer and others were really looked at. Up to that point, 1991, all research at the Institutes of Health were done on white males. Now think about that for a minute if you will. We couldn’t do that because we just said, “Now, kindly stop doing that.” It took legislation.

Of course, one Rush Limbaugh had nothing but gracious things to say about Slaughter’s harrowing example of the constituent in her dead sister’s dentures.

You know I’m getting so many people, this Louise Slaughter comment on the dentures? I’m getting so many people, this is big, I mean, that gets a one-time mention for a laugh, but there are people out there that think this is huge because it’s so stupid. I mean for example, well what’s wrong with using a dead person’s teeth? Aren’t the Democrats big into recycling? Save the planet? And so what? So if you don’t have any teeth, so what? What’s applesauce for? Isn’t that why they make applesauce? [Big sigh]

That’s it! Let them eat applesauce. Problem solved.

A more substantive and constructive analysis, one focusing on what health care reform could and should mean for women by Jezebel alum Megan Carpentier, can be found here.

Obama’s Health Care Challenge [WMC]
Limbaugh’s Health Care Plan: “If You Don’t Have Any Teeth, So What? What’s Applesauce For?” [MM]

Related: A Democrat’s View From The House: Senate bill Isn’t Health Reform [CNN]
Shades of Stokely Carmichael: Where Is the Female Leadership in the Health Reform Summit? [RH Reality Check]

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