Speaking to a crowd in Rochester yesterday, Rep. Michele Bachmann warned that Democratic health reform proposals could eventually prompt the government to use health care as a tool to limit people's free speech

The Post-Bulletin has a video and story of Bachmann's address to about 200 people.

She explained that a man recently approached her to say that in Japan, which "had the government takeover of health care," the government puts people who criticize the health system on "a list" and denies them treatment.

"And so people are afraid. They're afraid to speak back to government," Bachmann said. "They're afraid to say anything. Is that what we want for our future? That takes us to gangster government at that point and absolute abject corruption. We're not that kind of country. That's not who we are."

This, she said, is something "people don't know," adding,"a government takeover of health care is the crown jewel of socialism." 

Rochester is a long way from Bachmann's suburban Twin Cities district, but she was stumping for Allan Quist, a Republican candidate in the First Congressional District."

Hot Dish could not find evidence to back up the claim that Japan withholds health care from government critics. A recent Washington Post article describing the pros and cons of the Japanese health system makes no mention of it. If it is true, however, it's worth noting that the two countries have different constitutions and legal systems.

The relevant portion of the address begins at about :54.

-- Bob Von Sternberg contributed to this post.