Tonawanda News

September 25, 2012

LEFFLER: Romney on health care: Let them eat cake

By Bob Confer
The Tonawanda News

— 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.

So Romney’s suggestion that the poor simply use emergency rooms as their primary care physician is both fiscally irresponsible and morally objectionable. It keeps people in a vicious health care cycle of being “not dead yet.”

Personally, I think this view is telling. I mean, I can’t help but think that it’s actually how he feels. Just like he feels that “the 47 percent” are a bunch of moochers whose discount bin clothes are ruining the view for the well-to-do.

Never before have I seen a presidential candidate who was so cold and calculating as Mitt Romney. And yet, he maintains followers, in my opinion, simply by not being Barack Obama. Just as the Republican primary lasted so long because all of the other GOP candidates were not Mitt Romney.

Maybe that’s why a Washington Post/Pew Research poll released Monday states that just over half the nation — 54 percent — say they are very or fairly satisfied with their choices come November.

I can’t say that I blame them. I continue to check out the discount bin of political candidates — third parties — looking for someone I can live with.

Scott Leffler wishes he had better options for presidential candidates and other things in life. But at least he has Twitter. @scottleffler