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Thursday, August 28, 2008

McCain Adviser: No Uninsured in America

This is just incomprehensibly beyond the pale:

In an interview with the Dallas Morning News yesterday, John Goodman, the “Father of Health Savings Accounts” and architect of Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) health care plan, said the term “uninsured” is a misnomer because Americans have Emergency Room access. According to Goodman, “only people who are denied care are truly uninsured – everyone who gets care is effectively insured by some mechanism,” the paper states:

Mr. Goodman, who helped craft Sen. John McCain’s health care policy, said anyone with access to an emergency room effectively has insurance, albeit the government acts as the payer of last resort. (Hospital emergency rooms by law cannot turn away a patient in need of immediate care.)

“So I have a solution. And it will cost not one thin dime,” Mr. Goodman said. “The next president of the United States should sign an executive order requiring the Census Bureau to cease and desist from describing any American – even illegal aliens – as uninsured. Instead, the bureau should categorize people according to the likely source of payment should they need care. “So, there you have it. Voila! Problem solved.”

Update - This thinking is surprisingly common among Republicans:
This nonsense is surprisingly common in Republican circles. Last year, Tom DeLay argued, "[N]o American is denied health care in America," because everyone can go to the emergency room. Around the same time, George W. Bush said the same thing: "[P]eople have access to health care in America. After all, you just go to an emergency room." In 2004, then-HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson said our healthcare system "could be defined as universal coverage," because of emergency rooms.

Update 2: This is the same guy that gave us this recent racially offensive gem:
"Here is the variation in life expectancy among ethnic and racial groups in the United States and as you can see, it's all over the map. [...] but doctors just don't control our over eating, over smoking, and shoot outs in the hood." Listen to the audio