The uninsured numbers went down a touch because in 2007 Medicaid expanded. In 2008 they’ll go up as unemployment increases and S-CHIP coverage is cut. Really this doesn’t change too much.
Right-wing nut jobs all over the Internet are saying that uninsurance doesn’t matter. It’s surprising that one of the more sensible right-wingers has joined in and now says that the uninsured don’t exist.
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
Goodman’s no dummy. He knows that low wage, uninsured
workers who have a health crisis have a miserable life. He knows the
stories in Jonathan Cohn’s Sick are true. He knows that according to the Institute of Medicine 18,000 of the uninsured die prematurely each year.
Of course, coming from a guy sitting on top of his and
his wife’s half-million-plus dollar salaries derived from his
well-heeled Conservative donors, all this is pretty rich.
So the question is, is he joking or is he just mean?
Or now that he’s on McCain’s advisory team
does he think that helping to ensure a Democratic victory this Fall
will increase NCPA’s funding from his conservative nut-job backers, and
therefore keep upping his payday? After all, he believes in market
forces and responding to incentives!
Categories: Matthew Holt