Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Brutally honest

By Mustang Bobby

Paul Krugman gets all shrill about the Romney-Ryan health-care plan:

Last week, speaking to The Columbus Dispatch, Mr. Romney declared that nobody in America dies because he or she is uninsured: "We don't have people that become ill, who die in their apartment because they don't have insurance." This followed on an earlier remark by Mr. Romney — echoing an infamous statement by none other than George W. Bush — in which he insisted that emergency rooms provide essential health care to the uninsured.

These are remarkable statements. They clearly demonstrate that Mr. Romney has no idea what life (and death) are like for those less fortunate than himself.

Yeah, as a matter of fact, people do die because they don't have health insurance, whether it's in their apartment (why does he think that only the poor folks live in apartments?) or wherever they live. They die because they don't want to go to an emergency room because they know that even if they are guaranteed treatment, they will get stuck with a huge bill, or they don't want to be stuck in a long line of people just like them who see the ER as their only medical resource instead of as the place to go as the last resort. One of the reasons our health-care system is one of the most expensive in the world in spite of being one of the more average in terms of care and treatment is that resources like ERs are being saddled with people who clearly should not be there taking up the space from those who do need to be there.

So let's be brutally honest here. The Romney-Ryan position on health care is that many millions of Americans must be denied health insurance, and millions more deprived of the security Medicare now provides, in order to save money. At the same time, of course, Mr. Romney and Mr. Ryan are proposing trillions of dollars in tax cuts for the wealthy. So a literal description of their plan is that they want to expose many Americans to financial insecurity, and let some of them die, so that a handful of already wealthy people can have a higher after-tax income.

But what does it matter? The people who die in their apartments are probably just the takers, not the movers anyway.

(Cross-posted at Bark Bark Woof Woof.)

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  • I think we miss the main reason people without insurance wait to go to the emergency room: ethics. They don't want to go until they feel it is an emergency. I once did this, arriving at the hospital with a BP of 60/40 and leaving with a quarter million dollars in debt. And my life, for which I am very grateful. But there is no doubt I went to the hospital about a month late and it was because I didn't feel it was right to use the system lightly. I didn't even think of the money.

    By Anonymous Frankly Curious, at 5:21 PM  

  • PS: I had a reasonable high tech job for a bunch of conservatives who had promised for the previous 18 months to provide health insurance. I have not worked there for 4 years now. The employees still have no health insurance.

    By Anonymous Frankly Curious, at 5:27 PM  

  • Let's not forget that someone's always footing the bill at the end of the day. If a hospital has to eat the cost of care for an uninsured individual, that either reduces the standard of care overall when the money dries up, or comes right out of federal funding for hospitals. So at the end of the day, the money is still coming out of the government's pockets, just following a more circuitous route.

    To me, the whole point of Obamacare was prevention, prevention, prevention. Wellness visits, help with co-pays, filling in the donut hole. All of these things help people manage their health *before* it gets bad. This is good both for the people and, incidentally, for the government's coffers, too.

    By Anonymous Neel Joshi, at 5:33 PM  

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