Romney again disagrees with himself

NPR compares Romney to himself:

Yet in 2010, in an appearance on MSNBC, Romney said almost exactly the opposite: “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,” he said at the time.

He used even more colorful language back in 2007, talking to Fox News host Glenn Beck. “When they show up at the hospital, they get care; they get free care paid for by you and me,” he said. “If that’s not a form of socialism, I don’t know what is.”

Now he says:

Pelley: Does the government have a responsibility to provide health care to the 50 million Americans who don’t have it today?

Romney: Well, we do provide care for people who don’t have insurance, people– we– 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.

Pelley: That’s the most expensive way to do it.

Romney: Well the–

Pelley: In an emergency room.

Romney: Different, again, different states have different ways of doing that. Some provide that care through clinics. Some provide the care through emergency rooms. In my state, we found a solution that worked for my state. But I wouldn’t take what we did in Massachusetts and say to Texas, “You’ve got to take the Massachusetts model.”

So, Romney is now agreeing with Rick Santorum, Ron Paul, and President Bush that using emergency rooms is an acceptable way to provide ‘healthcare’.  There are a few major problems with this stance. The first I have noted a few times before:

The uninsured might get the emergency care, but they don’t get the routine care and they don’t get all the medications they need–so they are denied care. And studies have shown that the uninsured do have a higher risk of dying:

As medical care has improved for people with health insurance, the consequences of being uninsured have worsened, according to a new study that says the lack of coverage translates into nearly 45,000 deaths each year among working-age Americans.

The NPR article also notes another problem:

But in addition to flip-flopping, Romney is missing a key fact about the uninsured and emergency room care, says health policy professor Harold Pollack of the University of Chicago. Just because hospitals are required to see patients in the emergency room doesn’t mean that care is required to be free.

“The emergency room is perfectly entitled to send you a whopping bill,” said Pollack. “And there are many people across America who are facing significant financial problems from serious bills that they’ve received for emergency care.”

It’s only when the uninsured don’t — or can’t — pay those bills that the costs come back to the taxpayers. Pollack also says Democrats and Republicans largely agree that emergency rooms are wholly inappropriate places for most people to get health care.

“It’s just about the least cost-effective way you can get your medical care. And we also have really damaged the institution of emergency department care by expecting it to take on these burdens it’s not really designed to assume — to provide primary care to low-income people,” he said.

In essence it means that if you don’t have insurance either you will be stuck with a huge bill or you will go bankrupt. Lovely system that.

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Romney: Look, I’m still crazy « Petunias

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