Don’t Care About Health Care

Mitt Romney, the man who started a health care plan in Massachusetts that was a model for ObamaCare, is now saying that uninsured people don’t have to worry because they can just go to the emergency room. Shouldn’t that be the last resort, since, you know, it’s an EMERGENCY room? Not to mention the long, long waits and the bill that nobody can afford. I didn’t even realize until fairly recently how much a ride in an ambulance costs. Fortunately, I’ve never had to take an ambulance, but I can see someone avoiding going to the hospital just because of that cost. Sometimes that burden is shifted to other people, but isn’t that something the Republicans want to avoid? We apparently can’t have the government footing the bill for the Affordable Care Act, but we CAN have them paying for inefficient emergency room treatment. Romney himself once referred to the uninsured people who go to the hospital anyway as “free riders,” and making other people pay is “a step towards socialism.” So he now thinks getting a free ride is a good idea? I’m really not so keen on the idea of insurance anyway; I just think the costs of health care should go way down. I can’t say how that would be organized, but apparently they’ve done it fairly successfully in other countries. But then, I don’t think socialism is necessarily a bad idea. And as long as we have insurance, shouldn’t it be available to everybody, especially the people who otherwise can’t afford medical care? I’ve remarked before how our system is almost backwards in some ways, as the people with better-paying jobs usually have better health plans as well. What about the people who are unemployed or underemployed, and hence can’t pay their medical bills at all?

Romney also insists that his plan (whatever that is; he won’t give details) would cover pre-existing conditions, but apparently only if you’ve had insurance coverage recently. What a generous guy!

There’s also Romney’s desire to turn Medicare into a voucher program, making seniors shop around for health insurance. Shopping for insurance isn’t a fate I’d wish on anyone, and Romney thinks it’s a good idea to force it on the elderly? People might be willing to pay a little more to avoid unnecessary confusion, but Romney’s plan as I see it would add confusion AND cost more. Talk about killing two retired birds with one stone! And could the private insurers still turn people down for pre-existing conditions? Apparently, since Romney wants to repeal ObamaCare. Aren’t people in later life even more likely to have such conditions? It’s like Bush’s unsuccessful attempt to privatize Social Security. Leave everything up to the whims of the private marketplace, and don’t provide any sort of guarantee. Because that would be an entitlement, right? Personally, I don’t see why we SHOULDN’T be entitled to health care. It’s kind of hard to have life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness when you’re suffering from a medical condition, isn’t it? Unlike the Republicans, I don’t see entitlement as a bad thing in every case. After all, in a chaotic and dangerous world, shouldn’t our very existence come with certain guarantees? We’re supposed to be a species that helps each other out. Instead, we have a system that makes sure a significant number of people aren’t going to make enough money to live, and then shames them for being poor. Maybe we wouldn’t have so many people sucking at the proverbial government teat if we had a system that helped them to become more productive.

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3 Responses to Don’t Care About Health Care

  1. halinabq says:

    What Romney and the Republicans conveniently forget is that Medicare was started in the first place precisely because retired seniors could not get health insurance in their much-vaunted free market. That was correctly perceived back in the 60’s as unjust. Now, apparently, it would just be too bad. I was turned down several times for health insurance, for unspecified reasons, but I look like a pretty healthy guy to me. So now I pay $500/month for a $15,000 deductible policy, which means I can be out of pocket up to $21,000 each year before the policy kicks in.

    When I was in Canada last month, our bus driver said he pays $60/month, and that covers everything. I suppose they do subsidize the system from income taxes as well, but even so their total health care costs per capita are about half what they are in the U.S., as they are in a dozen other developed countries who have the same or better health care statistics as we do. Seems to me we should just give up and contract our health care system to one of those countries that have figured out how to do it without breaking the bank!

    • Nathan says:

      Those other countries are just more advanced in that respect, I suppose. I always hear politicians say the United States has the world’s best health care, and that might be true for the richest among us, but not everyone else.

  2. dieta says:

    Romney seems to be implying that he favors a limited open enrollment period. Buy insurance in this window and you can get it for a reasonable price. Get sick later and want insurance? You’re out of luck. Stay uninsured and head to the emergency room where some or all of the tab will probably be picked up by the federal government. Smart health policy wonks have pitched similar ideas in the past. But this plan could only work in the context of a comprehensive health insurance plan that somehow makes insurances prices reasonable. Obamacare gets to affordability with federal subsidies. Romney? We still don’t know.

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