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Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe's comments on socialized medicine stir reaction

Inhofe, who recently had emergency heart surgery, says in an interview that he might have died in a country with single-payer system, though Affordable Care Act relies on private insurance.
by Chris Casteel Published: October 23, 2013
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— Sen. Jim Inhofe, who had emergency heart surgery early this month, has private health insurance through the benefits program for federal employees.

Soon, he and other members of Congress will have to purchase a private insurance plan through an exchange established under the Affordable Care Act.

So why was he talking in a media interview on Sunday night about socialized medicine and a single-payer system?

Inhofe, R-Tulsa, stirred up some indignant responses when he told radio host Aaron Klein, “You're talking to someone right now who probably wouldn't be here if we had socialized medicine in America.”

At another point in the interview, Inhofe referred to “socialized medicine like Obama is trying to impose upon America — that's single-pay and we know that's what he's trying to do.”

Inhofe's spokeswoman, Donelle Harder, said Tuesday that Inhofe was referring not to Obamacare but to the single-payer system that some Democrats — including, recently, Senate majority leader Harry Reid — have endorsed.

Inhofe had his heart surgery within days of doctors finding severe blockage in most of his arteries; Harder said research done by the senator's staff showed he would have waited weeks in some countries with socialized medicine.

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by Chris Casteel
Washington Bureau
Chris Casteel began working for The Oklahoman's Norman bureau in 1982 while a student at the University of Oklahoma. After covering the police beat, federal courts and the state Legislature in Oklahoma City, he moved to Washington in 1990, where...
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