News & Politics

GOP Sen. Tom Cotton Told Uninsured Constituent Not to Use Obamacare Because “Russian Mobsters” Would Steal Her Identity

Yes, the same Tom Cotton leading the charge against Obama's Iran negotiations.

Photo Credit: via YouTube

Arkansas Republican Senator Tom Cotton has been in the news for spearheading a coalition of 47 Senators who are trying to kill any deal with Iran by warning its leadership that Obama is only in office for another 21 months.

But long before Cotton had fame and his seat in the Senate, he was a little-known member of the House of Representatives. On November 23rd, 2013, he held a town hall meeting in his district in Hot Springs, Arkansas at the Clarion Lake Resort. The meeting was organized primarily to discuss the Affordable Care Act, most specifically the mishaps with the websites governing the health insurance exchanges.

At one point, a constituent submitted a question mentioning that her insurance plan had been cancelled and she refuses to utilize the exchanges that Obama, who she calls a liar, set up.

Rather than telling her that she has an obligation for her own health to seek insurance, Cotton goaded her on, telling her that he himself wouldn't use the exchange website because “Russian mobsters” may steal his identity.

QUESTION: I want to know why my state insurance Blue Cross and Blue Shield pre-existing high-risk pool was canceled and if it is going to be one of the hopefully reinstated plans that the President of the United States  promised. He's lied about so much but I really need my health insurance but I refuse to apply through Obamacare and leave myself and my personal    information up for hackers.

COTTON: I have to say I share Tammy's concerns about her personal information. I have to buy any kind of insurance plan that I might buy through the exchange. And I am certainly not going on the exchange to shop right now. I  did in early October just because I knew that it would crash and I would prove a point. But I certainly wouldn't put my Social Security number or my tax information in there right now until I'm 100% confident that it's not going to be stolen by Russian mobsters and I'd have my identity stolen and sold on the black market internationally          

Watch the question-and-answer below (it starts at 45:23)

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Cotton here went beyond the typical Republican exhorting of the evils of Obamacare and calls for repeal – here he is literally endorsing uninsured people just not using the system. For a man who has railed on a supposed threat from the dangers of Iran, he is awfully comfortable subjecting his own constituents to the dangers of no health coverage.

Zaid Jilani is an AlterNet staff writer. Follow @zaidjilani on Twitter.

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