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Texas Tom has already brought this to our attention with his diary on the Rec list. But I wanted to add a little extra wonk to our outrage, and hope this gets broader attention.

Cross-Posted at the PNHP Blog.

An article that was providing some Texas focus to the recent Census Bureau report, shows the true homicidal insanity of Republican right-wing ideology and free-market fundementalism gone amok:

"But the numbers are misleading, said John Goodman, president of the National Center for Policy Analysis, a right-leaning Dallas-based think tank. 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."


According to Mr. Goodman, only people who are denied care are truly uninsured – everyone who gets care is effectively insured by some mechanism. "So instead of producing worthless statistics that people fling around in vacuous editorials and pointless debates, the Census Bureau should produce meaningful numbers, identifying all of the sources of funds people will draw on if they need medical care," he said.

I can only begin to count the 22,000 ways per year this statement wrong:

  1. Studies estimate that there are about 22,000 deaths per year due to lack of health insurance.  There are 11 million Americans with chronic physical illnesses like heart disease, diabetes and asthma are not getting the medical care they need because they don’t have health insurance.  The uninsured have higher rates of stroke and cardiovascular disease deaths.  The American Cancer Society found that uninsured cancer patients are nearly twice as likely to die within five years as those with private coverage.  Overall, the United States has the highest rate of so-called "amenable" mortality among 19 OECD countries; that's 101,000 fewer deaths per year if we were as good as the average of the top three. But forget studies and just think for a moment. It matters if you got the mammogram last year, or get "treated" in the ER for untreatable metastatic breast cancer today.  It matters if you if get your lipids checked and started on statins five years ago because you have coverage, or get "treated" in the ER for your fatal heart attack today.  Apparently that is too hard to understand for some alleged health policy experts.  Let me be a little bit more clear. This attitude by John McCain's health policy advisor and by right wing Republican idealogues is not just delusional, it is homicidal. They are justifying the deaths of tens of thousands of Americans. That is the equivalent of seven 9/11's per year, year-in and year-out.

  2. Hospitals are getting killed financially in part because of the dumping of care into emergency rooms. They are closing ERs all over the country because of this. Meanwhile wait times in the ER are up even for the critically ill. This is not new news. Everyone who knows anything about health care in the country knows this. Except John McCain's health policy advisor. They literally live in their own world, but not the one we live in.

  3. And let's not forget that half of personal bankruptcies are linked to health care costs (admittedly the studies on this predate the mortgage crisis; though of course right-wing free-market fundamentalist privatization and deregulation led to that disaster too). Of course that includes lots of people "with" health insurance from the same private for-profit health insurance companies that John McCain wants to really turn loose. Republican family values means more family bankruptcies.

Okay that is just three arguments for why these folks, as previously demonstrated by top economic advisor Phil Gramm's mental recession and whiner comments, are completely out of touch with reality.

No doubt you have more! Let's hear from you...

PS: I should note that the full newspaper article included pathetically mild rebuttals by the Center for Public Policy Priorities in Texas and from Families USA.

PPS: A little birdy emailed me to say that Mr. Goodman an his wife make over a Million bucks a year from their consulting.

Originally posted to DrSteveB on Thu Aug 28, 2008 at 08:15 AM PDT.

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