Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Back to the ER

By Mustang Bobby

One of the reasons Mitt Romney championed his health-care law in Massachusetts back when he was governor in 2006 was to keep people without insurance from relying on going to the emergency room for treatment. It was a huge financial drain on the hospitals and the insurance business, but Romney's plan made insurance available to all. It made sense then, and even as recently as 2010 Mr. Romney defended it on Morning Joe:

It doesn't make a lot of sense for us to have millions and millions of people who have no health insurance, and yet who can go to the emergency room and get entirely free care for which they have no responsibility, particularly if they're people who have sufficient means to pay their own way. And so we said, look, we've got an idea. Let's take all the money we've been spending to give out free care — paying hospitals who give out free care — and help people who can't afford it buy insurance.

But now he sees that as evil socialized medicine and must be repealed; after all, we'll always have emergency rooms:

In the 60 Minutes interview, Romney protested the idea that government doesn't already provide health care to the uninsured: "Well, we do provide care for people who don't have insurance," he said. "If someone has a heart attack, they don't sit in their apartment and die. We pick them up in an ambulance, and take them to the hospital, and give them care. And different states have different ways of providing for that care."

It's one thing to change your position on a policy as time goes on and you see how it might not be working or your thinking evolves. But to basically go from one side to another on a basic tenet of the only major accomplishment you had as the governor of Massachusetts — and arguably the reason you gained national prominence in the first place — reeks of pandering, opportunism, and hypocrisy.

(P.S.: It didn't take long for the Obama campaign to helpfully point out Mr. Romney's change in his point of view.)

(Cross-posted at Bark Bark Woof Woof.)

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