One of the most radical opponents of health care reform is Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA). He has said that a public option would “kill people.” Last Tuesday, Broun was confronted by a constituent at a health care town hall who explained that he has has gone into debt because he can’t afford insurance for his major depressive disorder. In response to his constituent’s story, Broun said that “people who have depression, who have chronic diseases in this country…can always get care in this country by going to the emergency room.” That comment prompted boos from the crowd. Towards the end of Broun’s answer, a constituent yelled, “That’s why we need a public option!” which brought cheers from the audience. (video at link)
As a former mental health counselor who's suffered bouts of depression myself, I'm outraged at this. Chronic depression (like all chronic diseases) requires long term treatment. Ideally, a combination of counseling and medications are used, but currently it's mostly just medications. They're cheaper. Emergency treatment of depression usually comes as a result of a suicide attempt or serious suicidal ideation. So the congressman was basically saying "go attempt suicide, and you can get treatment". If you survive.
Perhaps the most stunning part of the whole health care debate is how blatant the rethugs have been about there lack of compassion for their fellow human beings. It's one thing to be a cold heartless bastard, another thing to proudly publicly proclaim it.