Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Emergency rooms: Romney's new health care plan

Mitt Romney, 2010: "When [people without insurance] show up at the hospital, they get care. They get free care paid for by you and me. If that's not a form of socialism, I don't know what is."

Mitt Romney, 2012: "We do provide care for people who don't have insurance. 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."

After all, emergency rooms are free, aren't they? Ambulances are free. Emergency personnel are free. Even roads are free. According to Republicans, we don't need taxes, because all of these things just... happen. How dare you suggest that our tax money is necessary for anything?

But this flip-flop isn't "incredible," as the people in this video clip call it, because this is exactly the problem that Romneycare/Obamacare was designed to fix. If people can get free healthcare at emergency rooms, they won't bother to buy health insurance when they're young or have little to lose.

If you don't have a lot to lose in bankruptcy, or if you're young (and therefore less likely to have a catastrophic illness), why not roll the dice? If you lose, you'll still get health care, but the American people will pay for it. This is, after all, a civilized country. And people dying along the side of the road are so messy...

If you can't get health insurance, because of a pre-existing condition, the same thing applies. Indeed, before Obamacare, insurance companies could - and often would - dump you if you got cancer or some other expensive illness. Well, it's a lot more profitable to insure only healthy people.

You can require that insurance companies cover pre-existing conditions, but if you do that, no one will get health insurance until they get sick, and health insurance companies would go broke. That's the reason for the mandate in both Romneycare and Obamacare. Mitt Romney pushed for that mandate - before he started running for president in today's crazy GOP - and for good reason.

Note that Romney didn't invent Obamacare. That was developed in a right-wing think tank as the free-market, insurance company-friendly, Republican health care plan. When Romney pushed for it in Massachusetts, it was mainstream Republican policy.

And it stayed the Republican plan right up until the Democrats decided to compromise and adopt it, too (which is usually how Democrats 'compromise'). Instantly, it became 'socialism.' To Republicans, their own plan became 'socialism' - simply because they were determined to oppose everything the Democrats supported, no matter what it was.

From day one, during the worst economic collapse since the Great Depression, the Republican focus has been on denying Barack Obama a second term. And to do that, they had to make sure that he couldn't accomplish anything, no matter how badly that harmed America.

After all, it was Republican policies which collapsed our economy. When Barack Obama took office, the economic collapse looked to have no bottom. It was already the worst collapse since the Great Depression, and it didn't seem to be slowing down at all.

Barack Obama stopped the collapse. But if he'd been able to quickly fix our economy, repairing in a few short years what George W. Bush had taken eight years to destroy, that would have been the end of the Republican Party. So they've been dragging their feet ever since, desperate to keep America's economy in the toilet.

Note how Mitt Romney, whose only fixed belief is in his own ambition, flip-flops at every gust of wind. Well, there's a good reason why Romney is a Republican. It's because they all put their political ambition ahead of everything else.

The whole party has done this, at least back to their 'Southern strategy' of deliberately appealing to white racists in order to take the South from the Democrats. When the Democrats did the right thing in supporting equal rights for racial minorities, despite the damage it would do to them politically, Republicans cynically took advantage of that.

And Republicans have done the same ever since. As I say, there's a good reason why Mitt Romney is a Republican. He's just as cynical as all of their leaders.


AJ said...

Free? Yes, I don't have insurance of any kind. Lost my job with a big hospital where I had great benefits; got outsourced to a small company who provides no benefits. Lost health and life insurance, long-term disability, vacation time (six weeks), and a very good income. Got sick. Went to the ER, was hospitalized, had a procedure done. The business office of that hospital was very easy to communicate with and assured me not to worry about anything. I got a nice bill for $14,000, reduced from $28,000...half price! What a deal. Been paying for it ever since. Of course, I could choose to not pay and have my paycheck appropriated at 20% of my income and ruin any possibility of having good credit. I only make $1200 a month (can't physically work more hours...can't get disability). But what the heck. It's free at the ER.

Chimeradave said...

Wow, that's roughly the same price as my Grad school loans. That really sucks Ann. :(

AJ said...

At least I can still laugh. Actually, I am still laughing over "It's a trap!"

WCG said...

Yes, that does suck, Ann. But it's "free" if you're willing to go bankrupt and you don't have any assets to lose. (Or it used to be, at least.)

That's why the young would sometimes take a chance on doing without health insurance, even if they could afford it. Well, and young people don't often need expensive procedures, either. For them, it's probably a good bet, given that they can still get treated at the emergency room, if they're unlucky.

But I know they've changed bankruptcy laws recently, so maybe that's not the case anymore. They certainly won't encourage bankruptcy! And, certainly, if you've got anything, they'll want it. But whether you could pay or not, you'd still get treated, and someone would pay.

Honestly, it's a national disgrace that we don't have universal health care. Outsourcing to companies which don't pay benefits increases corporate profits, but it's sure a disaster to employees. We're a wealthy developed country. There's no reason people should get into that kind of fix, Ann.

You have my sympathy!

Chimeradave said...

Jim didn't take my advice, but he answer the question well. :)