Late Night: Oh, Tosh. Are There No Emergency Rooms?
Ah, I get it now. To understand how the Republican brain processes the concept of health care coverage, you need to refer to the general attitude the party takes toward abortion: there is much hue and cry and rending of mantles about the fetus, but once that child emerges into this world, it’s on its own.
At least that’s what Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Dumbass from Georgia) suggested to the elderly, uninsured cancer patient who had no other choice but to go the emergency room for treatment. What’s the problem? According to Kingston, the guy has de facto "insurance coverage":
At a recent town hall held by Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA), an elderly gentleman named Jim Parker stood up and told the congressman that he was recently treated for colon cancer. “I did not have insurance,” he said, because “things didn’t quite work out” after he started his own business. Parker informed Kingston that “a friend of mine was in the same position, and we buried him last January.”
Kingston responded by telling the man that “you did do very well” because he was able to get treated when he arrived at the hospital. Parker responded, “I am functionally bankrupt!” Kingston cut him off and reiterated his point:
"But you did get coverage. You didn’t get the insurance, but they won’t turn you down at the door. "
Ah, the old "emergency room as health insurance" canard. It played so well for Bush.
So for Republicans (and the spineless Dems), any contemplation of the patient’s care ceases, full stop, the moment he leaves the emergency room. There are no consequences after that. How the patient is actually going to afford the medical bills is of no concern to Republicans. Instead, the poor slob is left to his own devices, which should be interpreted to mean that he is forced to sell all his worldly possessions, wipe out his savings account, and find a tasteful, yet inexpensive, bedroom set for that refrigerator box under the overpass. Compassionate conservatism, my ass.
(Is it a coincidence that thanks to the last eight years of Randian skullfucking by the Republicans, the requirements for filing for personal bankruptcy are even more draconian? Methinks not.)
And if the emergency rooms are too full of people who can’t afford even minimum insurance coverage? No worries, just call the fire department:
Among the hidden costs of the health care crisis is the burden that fire departments across the country are facing as firefighters, much like emergency room doctors, are increasingly serving as primary care providers.
About 80 percent of the calls handled by Engine Company 10 are medical emergencies because the firehouse serves one of the city’s poorest areas, where few residents have health insurance, doctors’ checkups are rare, and medical problems are left to fester until someone dials 911.
Terrific! What could possibly go wrong here?
What Rep. Kingston and his pathologically insensitive and greedy colleagues on both sides of the aisle think are brilliant solutions to the health care crisis invariably wind up costing taxpayers even MORE than if Congress provided a comprehensive health insurance plan for all citizens.
But then again, if these guys had their way, even the fire departments would be privatized in order to make a buck.