John Goodman is the supposed “Health Care Architect” for John McCain’s campaign and he recently gave an interview to the Dallas News in which he claimed, with a straight face, that with ER rooms unable to lawfully turn away people in immediate need there are no uninsured Americans:
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.”
Mr. Goodman seems to be blissfully unaware that having the government pick up the tab for emergencies is not the same thing as having health insurance or that resorting to such means is way more expensive for everyone involved than true health insurance would be. That’s the sort of advisors a John McCain presidency will include.
The folks at Think Progress sum up the flaws with this argument:
Not only is ER care the most expensive way to get health care, but it also does not provide dental care, eye exams, therapy, and routine check-ups. Moreover, the availability of good emergency room care is in decline. In 2006, 119 million visits were made to ERs, up from 90 million in 1996. At the same time, the number of hospital ERs dropped to fewer than 4,600, from nearly 4,900, causing wait times to also increase.
They also point out that President Bush pretty much made the same argument in 2007 saying: “I mean, people have access to health care in America. After all, you just go to an emergency room.” Thus showing that a McCain administration will be no different than a Bush administration.