If You Allow Universal Health Care, The Terrorists Win

06 July 2007

Yesterday on FOX News, Neil Cavuto hosted Jerry Bowyer (from The National Review Online) to make an extended argument that single-payer health care systems somehow lead to terrorism. It really has to be seen to be believed. Jerry argues that since the attempted British carbombers were doctors, this is somehow symptomatic of a larger infiltration of the British health care system by terrorists. He rationalizes this idea by arguing that since the British need doctors to provide their health care, they must employ more doctors from abroad. And when the number of foreign doctors increases, the number of Muslim doctors increase. And when the number of Muslim doctors increases, the British naturally have more terrorists.

Brendan Nyhan covers some of Jerry's more analytically challenged arguments here (5/15/07), here (4/25/07), here (6/21/06), and here (7/12/05). Why does the National Review employ this guy and why does FOX News give him a platform? Maybe this is just a part of FOX's larger effort to link everything they don't like to terrorism (see here and here for two recent examples).

Video here:

EDIT: Ezra Klein discusses the factual errors and contorted logic of the "bureaucracy" argument here.

EDIT #2: Wow, apparently this talking point has legs. The National Review says: "The socialization of medicine in the UK is responsible for a lot of problems. The importation of terrorists is just one of them."

EDIT #3: More tenuous terrorism links here (Virginia Tech) and here (school buses).

EDIT #4: Holy shit, it's spreading! Here's another clip, this one from MSNBC's Joe Scarborough:

EDIT #5: Daniel Johnson of The Sun is jumping on the bandwagon here.

EDIT #6: Neil Cavuto hosted another crazy guy, right-wing radio host Mike Gallagher, who suggested that there is "nothing wrong with suspending the opportunity for Muslim doctors to enter the United States until…we sort this thing out." Gallagher, of course, dodges the question of whether or not we should block Muslim engineers and accountants from entering the U.S. as well (people in those professions actually did carry out their plot). Cavuto's other guest, Sasha Burns, summed it up best: "That's one of the dumbest things I've ever heard."

EDIT #7: FOX News's Bulls & Bears piles it on. And this time, the chyron reads: "NATIONAL HEALTH CARE: BREEDING GROUND FOR TERROR." Notice that the question mark is missing this time.

EDIT #8: This political cartoon from the New York Post sums the talking point up pretty well.

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