In May and April of this year, some Democratic opponents of Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) characterized him the “Dr. Kevorkian of Medicare.” Even some of his Republican supporters were a little queasy after one of his strongest supporters, from a solid Republican distract (Jane Corwin, R-NY) was defeated by an upstart Democrat, Kathy Hochul – even though Republican leaders John Boehner and Eric Cantor flew in to support him. Hochul had made a big issue of Corwin’s support for the Ryan Medicare proposal.
And speaking of Kervorkian, the real Jack Kevorkian, a retired pathologist who captured the world’s attention when he allegedly helped more than 130 people commit suicide, died at age 83 at William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Michigan on June 3, 2011. Nicknamed “Dr. Death,” Kevorkian catapulted into the public consciousness in 1990 when he used his homemade “suicide machine” in his rusted Volkswagen van to inject lethal drugs into an Alzheimer’s patient who’d sought his help in dying. Kevorkian likened himself to Martin Luther King and Gandhi, while calling his prosecutors Nazis and his critics religious fanatics. He burned state orders against him, showed up at court in costume, called doctors who didn’t support him “hypocritic oafs,” and challenged authorities to either stop him or make his actions legal. He went to jail but was released early for humanitarian reasons. He died after more than a month in the hospital–and he did not choose physician-assisted suicide.
Most likely Ryan, the “Dr. Kevorkian of Medicare” will not choose to die on his issue either. Certainly, his Republican counterparts are unlikely to do so.