A campaign ad from Republican U.S. Senate candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz shows Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez emerging from the skull of John Fetterman holding a “free healthcare” sign. (Photo: Dr. Mehmet Oz/Twitter Screengrab)
“What’s radical,” responded a top aide to Sen. Bernie Sanders, “is 338,000 Americans dying during the pandemic because they could not afford for-profit healthcare.”
JAKE JOHNSON August 16, 2022 (CommonDreams.org)
Republican U.S. Senate hopeful and ultra-millionaire Mehmet Oz attempted Monday to cast his Democratic opponent, Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, as “the most radical candidate in the country” by citing his support for “free healthcare,” a line of attack that was met with widespread derision on social media.
Dr. Oz, a former television personality who is trailing the key Senate contest by double digits, delivered the attack through a crudely animated ad showing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) emerging from Fetterman’s skull holding a sign that reads, “Free healthcare for everyone!”
“Socialized medicine?” the narrator scoffs. “Where did he get these crazy ideas?”
He’s the most radical candidate in the country. pic.twitter.com/Z2jr8yowos— Dr. Mehmet Oz (@DrOz) August 15, 2022
“Honestly had to double check that this wasn’t a parody account,” Robert Maguire, research director at Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, tweeted in response to the clip, which includes a slew of other attacks on Fetterman’s policy agenda, some of them highly misleading.
Warren Gunnels, Sanders’ staff director, added that “67% of the American people support providing Medicare to every American, including 69% of independents and 87% of Democrats.”
“What’s radical,” Gunnels added, “is 338,000 Americans dying during the pandemic because they could not afford for-profit healthcare.”
Gunnels was referencing a peer-reviewed study published in June showing that more than 338,000 U.S. coronavirus deaths could have been prevented if the country had a single-payer healthcare system that guaranteed comprehensive coverage for all.
Fetterman has long expressed support for Medicare for All and promised, if needed, to cast the decisive Senate vote in support of single-payer legislation, a position that led for-profit healthcare interests to attack him during the Democratic primary. On his campaign website, Fetterman states his view that “healthcare is a fundamental human right—just like housing, food, and education.”
Oz, by contrast, has pledged to “expand access to private sector plans expanded by President Trump,” an apparent reference to the former president’s executive order bolstering privately run Medicare Advantage plans that are notorious for overcharging the government and denying patients medically necessary care.
Oz has also vowed to take on healthcare industry “lobbyists and powerful special interests,” not mentioning that he has benefited from Big Pharma cash.