Herman Cain: Under "Obamacare," "I'd Be Dead"

August 19, 2011 4:15 pm ET — Kate Conway

Herman Cain

At a campaign stop on Thursday, GOP presidential contender Herman Cain told listeners that if the health care reform law had been fully implemented when he developed stage four colon and liver cancer, he'd be dead:

If Obamacare had been fully implemented when I caught cancer, I'd be dead and here's why. Here's why. I was able to go to the doctors that I wanted to go to. As fast as they could do the test. I didn't have to wait six months like you do in other countries to get a CAT scan, and sometimes people die before they get the CAT scan, because the cancer in my body was spreading so fast. But because I was able to get the treatment as soon as I could, and to get the quality care that I did, that's what has me alive today. You ought to be able to make those choices if you get a serious illness, not some bureaucrat in Washington, D.C.

Suggesting that the Affordable Care Act could result in six-month wait times or empower "some bureaucrat in Washington" to make personal health care decisions reveals Cain's complete lack of understanding of what the law actually contains. For one, it certainly doesn't keep people who can afford top-dollar care from choosing and paying for doctors.

What the Affordable Care Act does do is increase access to health care coverage so that other people (people without Cain's pizza fortune) who find themselves facing a diagnosis like Cain's can afford quality treatment. It also makes it illegal for insurance companies to drop patients diagnosed with serious (and expensive) illnesses based on unintentional errors on applications. It's kind of twisted that Cain uses his against-the-odds recovery to condemn a policy that could help others less fortunate than him beat similar obstacles.