August 29, 2008

What Krugman Said

Paul Krugman's column today does a brilliant job of defining the difference between Republicans and Democrats using John Goodman's comment about how no American is uninsured.

Last week John Goodman, an influential figure in Republican health care circles, explained that we shouldn’t worry about the growing number of Americans without health insurance, because there’s no such thing as being uninsured. After all, you can always get treatment at an emergency room. And Mr. Goodman — he’s the president of the National Center for Policy Analysis, an important conservative think tank, and is often described as the “father of health savings accounts,” a central feature of the Bush administration’s health policy — wants the next president to issue an executive order prohibiting the Census Bureau from classifying anyone as uninsured. “Voilà!” he says. “Problem solved.”

The truth, of course, is that visiting the emergency room in a medical crisis is no substitute for regular care. Furthermore, while a hospital will treat you whether or not you can pay, it will also bill you — and the bill won’t be waived unless you’re destitute. As a result, uninsured working Americans avoid visiting emergency rooms if at all possible, because they’re terrified by the potential cost: medical expenses are one of the prime causes of personal bankruptcy.

As Krugman says, this is not surprising because this is what Republicans believe - Americans are a bunch of whiners and complaining when things look pretty good right now.

Despite attempts to feign sympathy, the leaders of today’s G.O.P. fundamentally feel that Americans complaining about their economic and health care difficulties are, well, just a bunch of whiners.

And that, ultimately, even more than their policy proposals, is what defines the difference between the parties....And what one sees on the other side is a total lack of empathy for and understanding of the problems working Americans face. Mr. Clinton, famously, felt our pain. Republicans, manifestly, don’t. And it’s hard to fix a problem if you don’t even think it exists.


Posted by Mary at August 29, 2008 10:20 AM | Philosophy | Technorati links |

I've an acquaintance who's absolutely indigent and he spends his time dodging bill collectors because he's been to the ER twice in three years. The bills are likely in thousands.


Posted by: Scorpio at August 30, 2008 09:10 AM