Tonawanda News

Columns

September 25, 2012

LEFFLER: Romney on health care: Let them eat cake

I don’t want to confuse anyone into thinking that I’m a Barack Obama fan, but the more Mitt Romney talks, the more I like Obama’s chances of being re-elected.

As for me, I’ll vote third party — again. I’m leaning towards Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson, but I haven’t committed to anyone yet. I just know it won’t be Mitt or Barack.

Over the weekend, Romney said on 60 Minutes that poor people who are sick can just go to the ER to get fixed up.

“Well, we do provide care for people who don’t have insurance,” Romney said on the show, which aired Sunday night. “If someone has a heart attack, they don’t sit in their apartment and — and die. We pick them up in an ambulance, and take them to the hospital, and give them care.”

Never mind the fact that ER care is the most expensive form of medical treatment there is. And never mind that just two years ago Romney said that keeping people out of the ER should be a priority because “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.” Also ignore the fact that emergency room care doesn’t come without responsibility — those debts stay with people for years if they’re not paid off.

What bothers me most about Romney’s comments is that ER treatment is not health care. It’s death prevention. The jobs of nurses and doctors in emergency rooms across the country isn’t necessarily to make you well. It’s to make you well enough to get you back out on the street so they can spend their time dealing with real emergencies — the E in ER.

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