By Robert Schlesinger, Thomas Jefferson Street blog
When does a New York City-dwelling, healthcare non-profit running, 28-year-old's endorsement of the Obama healthcare plan make news? When the twentysomething activist in question is Barbara Bush, the daughter, granddaughter, and great-granddaughter of Republican politicians, including the two most recent GOP presidents.
The younger Barbara was featured on Fox News Sunday this weekend as the show's "power player of the week," and she weighed in with some views on healthcare that would be unwelcome in many quarters of the GOP. "Healthcare should be a right for everyone," Bush said on the show. Asked whether she supports Obama's healthcare overhaul law, she gave an I'm-about-to-get-in-trouble smile and temporized briefly ("that is a good question") before plunging ahead with her family political apostasy, saying that she was "glad" that the bill passed.
This isn't a case of a celebrity mouthing off on the fad cause of the moment. The former first daughter works on healthcare access issues full time through the Global Health Corps, a Peace Corps-style nonprofit that she founded which gives recent college graduates year-long fellowships to work on healthcare access issues in both Africa and in distressed parts of the United States. She helped launch the group two years ago and this year it gave out three dozen fellowships. She hopes to get the number up to 500 over the course of the next five years.
I saw her speak at the National Press Club on this issue last month and was struck by her knowledge of and passion for the issue and her evident commitment to it.
"The extreme disparity in health outcomes and access to healthcare that exists today between the world’s rich and the world’s poor is unjust and unsustainable," she said then.