The head of Health and Human Services faced backlash on social media Wednesday after joking that a T-shirt promoting universal healthcare was “the scariest Halloween costume.”
Seema Verma, the administrator for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (which falls under the HHS), tweeted an image of a “Medicare for All” T-shirt on Halloween, writing in the caption, “This year’s scariest Halloween costume goes to…”
This year’s scariest Halloween costume goes to… pic.twitter.com/QtRbdmiR8T
— Administrator Seema Verma (@SeemaCMS) October 31, 2018
The non-partisan health research foundation Commonwealth Fund reports that the rate of uninsured people between ages 19 and 64 jumped from 12.7 percent in 2016 to 15.5 percent in 2018. As HuffPost reported, the loss of healthcare for more than 4 million people can be attributed to “the Trump administration’s efforts to undermine the Affordable Care Act.”
Verma followed up with tweets about her agency’s efforts to “strengthen Medicare” and further insistence that single-payer national health insurance would be a “bad idea.”
Did I get your attention? Good. Medicare for All isn’t a joke. It’s a multi-trillion dollar drain on the American economy that will bankrupt future generations. It’s government controlled health care that will strip choice away from millions. It’s a bad idea. And it IS scary.
— Administrator Seema Verma (@SeemaCMS) November 1, 2018
Verma’s original tweet was met with strong criticism on Twitter from people who argued that access to universal healthcare isn’t a joking matter—and isn’t scary.
I'd imagine the families of the thousands of Americans who die every year because they have no health insurance would not find your Halloween "joke" funny whatsoever.
— Alex Kotch 🔥🚲 (@alexkotch) October 31, 2018
Really poor form from an otherwise admirable woman. If you think Medicare is bad, fix it. If you think only some people deserve Medicare, say so. If you think we can't afford it, tell us more about your priorities. Calling it scary is beneath the dignity of the office. https://t.co/mpLChbls6Z
— (((Howard Forman))) (@thehowie) October 31, 2018
Medicare's administrator tweeted this. So funny that the wealthiest country in the world still has people dying because they can't afford treatment & preventative care. *That's* what's ghoulish. https://t.co/pv9Kp2Yw09
— Dr. Tara C. Smith (@aetiology) November 1, 2018
You are supposed to be making medicare desirable. Not someones worst fear. This is admitting you are doing a lousy job. https://t.co/iuyTfjQsCG
— Vinay Prasad MD MPH (@VPplenarysesh) October 31, 2018
This is the official account for the Administrator of Medicare and Medicaid services and she is mocking people who will could lose their lives if they lose coverage…right before a major election. Her official account is the scariest thing ever on Halloween. #VoteEmOut https://t.co/stWtytLwTc
— Amee Vanderpool #WaveCast (@girlsreallyrule) October 31, 2018
everybody who has cancer gets treatment, spoOooOOoOoOky https://t.co/oVu3rta0NC
— christmas cheer liz bruenig (@ebruenig) October 31, 2018
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