October 1st, 2009
Back in 2007-08, Sen. Ensign had an affair with a married female staffer whose husband was also on his staff. The husband and wife both “resigned” and Ensign’s wealthy parents gave them $96K in hush money (on top of $25K “severance” she’d received from Ensign’s campaign) to cover up the affair (see, e.g., Washington Post articles 6/18/09, 7/10/09 and 7/13/09). Unfortunately (for Ensign), it didn’t stay covered up. He’s now back in the news again, this time opining in the Senate Finance Committee about how the US’s preventable death rate (the worst out of 19 developed countries studied, even though we are #1 in healthcare spending) would be lower than other developed nations if we just subtracted out auto and gun accidents (because Americans drive more than others and “we like our guns in the United States”). He must not have done his calculations correctly (even with his subtraction, we’re still the 17th worst out of 19); nor did he apparently find it ironic that he himself is pro-gun (not sure how he stands on auto accidents). See also the excellent post “Ensign on Why Gun Deaths Shouldn’t Be Factored into Survival Rates” on ThinkProgress.org, the original report “Measuring the Health of Nations: Updating an Earlier Analysis” (Health Affairs, Jan./Feb. 2008), and a good summary of that report here. NB: “Unhealthy behavior” is a double reference to his own questionable actions and to an amendment he proposed yesterday to the Baucus bill to allow health plans to give people incentives to quit smoking, exercise, and engage in other healthy activities (Reuters 9/30/09, “US senators vote to encourage healthy behavior”).
Sen. Ensign, you were in the news before,
And now you’re in the news some more.
Last time, you had an affair with an aide,
And covered it up with hush money payments your wealthy parents made.
Did I mention, her husband was your friend and also worked for you?
A double betrayal (not a nice thing to do).
Now you’re back, misquoting a statistic
To prove how our healthcare now is terrific.
To explain why our avoidable death rate is so high
You said it’s because of gun and car accidents that so many people die.
But your analysis was untrue,
As discovered by someone who the calculation did redo.
If you take out the people that from driving and guns died
Our avoidable death rate is still one of the highest worldwide.
Of 19 developed countries studied,
Our death rate was the first.
But if you take out cars and guns
We’re still third worst.
But why take out cars and guns?
After all, their victims still need care.
Or are you proposing that be denied?
That would be unfair.
About the gun accidents, it’s quite ironic
That when gun control is proposed you become histrionic.
Unless you’re against auto safety too,
Don’t you think gun safety regulation would be a good thing to do?