In support of health care reform, SEIU's website recently highlighted the case of Karlyn Zimbelman, an American who received successful medical treatment abroad because she couldn't foot the $40,000 bill for hip replacement surgery she would have been forced to pay in the United States. And so, she went to India, where the surgery and 13 days of medical care cost her $12,500 -- $16,500 with travel and other costs.
Beck ran parts of a video testimonial from Ms. Zimbelman, who had the audacity to say the following: "I think the American health care system is excellent, but I just think it's so expensive. Where's the money going?" Beck then offered the following explanation of the cost differential (emphasis added):
The best I can figure is all that money goes to high-tech hospitals and doctors who studied at Harvard rather than Gajra Raja medical school. Oh sure, yeah, you know, it's weird. You can buy a Gucci bag on any New York street corner for like four bucks. No different than the 3,000 dollar real thing. They're identical!
But he wasn't finished. Beck continued (emphasis added):
And also, in our research that it took us, oh about 40 seconds, we figured out that some of that money here in America winds up in the pocket of a skilled doctor that helps off-set the 20 years of schooling that he endured and the loans he took out. And - you're not going to believe this one, Karlyn - some of that money seems to go to the 1 million SEIU workers in the healthcare industry that make slightly more here than in India. Because, you know, they have an American lifestyle, maybe a couple of cars, great union benefits, and homes with something that we in America like to call flush toilets.
And finally (emphasis added):
I don't want a discounted doctor. I don't want discounted wages. I don't want any of this stuff. If I wanted to live in India, I'd live in India. I want not the Indian lifestyle, I want the American lifestyle. I'm sure, no offense to India, I'm sure it's beautiful and everything. I've heard especially this time of year, especially by the - you know that one big river they have there that sounds like a disease? Come on, it does. I mean, if somebody said, 'I'm sorry, you have a really bad case of Ganges,' you'd want Cipro."
Thus, within the span of a few minutes, Beck implied that there are no quality medical schools in India; implied that medical care in India is a shoddy imitation of real health care; implied that the entire nation is an undeveloped backwater without even so much as indoor plumbing; and compared the Ganges River, a holy body of water for one of the world's oldest and largest religions, to a disease.
What does this say about Beck's respect for the millions of Indian-Americans living in the United States, let alone the Indian people? What does it say about his respect for the faith traditions of others? What does it say about his views on the tens of thousands of doctors who graduate Indian medical schools every year in the hopes of serving the world's second largest nation? Or on the tens of thousands of doctors who studied medicine in India but now practice it in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, or Australia?
Most importantly, why does Beck feel that ignorant, bigoted rants like these are funny? Or does he simply have so little respect for his viewers that he thinks he must resort to this kind of xenophobia in order to maintain his ratings?
You can watch the clips here: