Kansas Senator Pat Roberts’ Joke About Losing Mammogram Coverage Angers Social Media
By Shawn Rice
Kansas Senator Pat Roberts (R) makes an insensitive joke about losing mammogram coverage to a reporter that landed him in hot water on social media. The U.S. senator gave a terrible response in addressing the loss of mammograms after he was asked if he supported scrapping Obamacare’s Essential Health Benefits rule. Under that rule, it is required that insurance plans cover hospitalizations, mental health and prescription drugs.
Talking Points Memo reporter Alice Ollstein tweeted about an exchange she had with the senator. Roberts reportedly scoffed, “I wouldn’t want to lose my mammograms.”
I asked Sen. Roberts if he supports scrapping Essential Health Benefits. “I wouldn’t want to lose my mammograms,” he snarked. #AHCA
— Alice Ollstein (@AliceOllstein) March 23, 2017
With Republican support for the American Health Care Act in jeopardy, President Donald Trump held a last-minute meeting with House Freedom Caucus members to discuss the possibility of eliminating the requirement that insurance policies cover 10 so-called essential health benefits. One of those benefits is preventive services, which include cancer screenings such as mammograms. According to a January report, more women across all income and education levels used mammograms under Obamacare than before the health care law was enacted.
Although the joke appears to make light of the fact that as a man he does not need the breast-screening test, breast cancer does affect males as well.
The exchange between the report and Roberts occurred a time when Republican leaders are working to secure support for their plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Their replacement measure, the American Health Care Act, has drawn opposition from centrist Republicans and congressional conservatives, who have argued that it does not go far enough to dismantle the Affordable Care Act.
Since social media caught wind of his comments, Roberts has since apologized. Roberts wrote, “I deeply regret my comments on a very important topic. Mammograms are essential to women’s health & I never intended to indicate otherwise.”
I deeply regret my comments on a very important topic. Mammograms are essential to women’s health & I never intended to indicate otherwise.
— Pat Roberts (@SenPatRoberts) March 23, 2017
Before that apology and still after, people on social media did not take kindly to the joke. Here are some reactions on social media in response to Roberts’ comments.
— Jackie Speier (@RepSpeier) March 23, 2017
— Rep. Eric Swalwell (@RepSwalwell) March 23, 2017
If you call Pat Robert’s office, let them know that 1 in 8 women in the U.S. has breast cancer. Then tell him to go shove it. https://t.co/eg641tcwD4
— Lily Herman (@lkherman) March 23, 2017
I have a friend named Tom who was diagnosed with stage two breast cancer. Go to the full article.