A common meme among recent Real Time with Bill Maher shows is that Republicans live in a bubble, one in which they are immune from reality. Perhaps it’s time to put Mitt Romney in the bubble since he, along with a lot of Republicans, seem to think of health insurance as being luxury, no more important to a person’s wellbeing than a Mercedes or an elevator for that Mercedes. In fact, in an interview Wednesday with the Columbus Dispatch, he said, “we don’t have people that become ill, who die in their apartment because they don’t have insurance.”
The presidential hopeful, of course, was doubling down on his earlier statement that emergency rooms were just fine and dandy for treating uninsured people, despite the fact that the highly inflated tab will be picked up by either the government or by the insured.
He said to the Dispatch:
“We don’t have a setting across this country where if you don’t have insurance, we just say to you, ‘Tough luck, you’re going to die when you have your heart attack,’??” he said as he offered more hints as to what he would put in place of “Obamacare,” which he has pledged to repeal.
“No, you go to the hospital, you get treated, you get care, and it’s paid for, either by charity, the government or by the hospital. We don’t have people that become ill, who die in their apartment because they don’t have insurance.”
While heart disease is the number one killer in the US, I’m not sure where this idea came from that it’s the only killer. The number two killer is cancer, a disease for which emergency rooms are ill-equipped. One has to wonder what would have become of his wife Ann, if she had to rely on emergency room care for her multiple sclerosis and her bout of breast cancer.
Of course, Romney is wrong. People do die from lack of healthcare, every day. As a matter of fact, about 123 people die from lack of health insurance every day. Americans without health insurance have a 40% greater risk of dying than people who have it.
Romney then went on to advocate some sort of one time opt in to health insurance program,
“You have to deal with those people who are currently uninsured, and help them have the opportunity to have insurance,” said Romney, who favors letting states craft their own plans.
“But then once people have all had that opportunity to become insured, if someone chooses not to become insured, and waits for 10 or 20 years and then gets ill and then says ‘Now I want insurance,’ you could hardly say to an insurance company, ‘Oh, you must take this person now that they’re sick,’ or there’d literally be no reason to have insurance.
Which is why there’s a built-in mandate in Obamacare, it lowers the cost for everyone by pooling the healthy with the sick.