Mitt Romney is rapidly becoming a laughingstock. We have already seen him sing patriotic songs out of key at campaign rallies and declare that he was happy to be back in Michigan where the trees are the right height. Add two more examples from the past weekend of Mitt the Twitt not looking very bright. The first is more amusing but the second is more significant as it involves public policy (along with another Romney flip-flop).
Romney’s wife, Ann, was in attendance, and the candidate spoke of the concern he had for her when her plane had to make an emergency landing Friday en route to Santa Monica because of an electrical malfunction.
“I appreciate the fact that she is on the ground, safe and sound. And I don’t think she knows just how worried some of us were,” Romney said. “When you have a fire in an aircraft, there’s no place to go, exactly, there’s no — and you can’t find any oxygen from outside the aircraft to get in the aircraft, because the windows don’t open. I don’t know why they don’t do that. It’s a real problem. So it’s very dangerous. And she was choking and rubbing her eyes. Fortunately, there was enough oxygen for the pilot and copilot to make a safe landing in Denver. But she’s safe and sound.”
The really dangerous thing would be to let this man become President.
The second is Romney’s answer to the uninsured having a problem such as a heart attack–just call an ambulance and go to the ER:
Well, we do provide care for people who don’t have insurance,” he said in an interview with Scott Pelley of CBS’s “60 Minutes” that aired Sunday night. “If someone has a heart attack, they don’t sit in their apartment and die. We pick them up in an ambulance, and take them to the hospital, and give them care. And different states have different ways of providing for that care.”
This is wrong in so many ways. Going to an Emergency Room is certainly the right thing to do for someone having chest pain, but the ER is a very inefficient way to treat most problems Yes, a person having a heart attack will receive immediate treatment. However, without insurance they will not receive adequate follow up after discharge. They might not have had the heart attack in the first place if they were treated for underlying risk factors. Emergency Rooms are not the place for management of chronic medical problems or preventative care. The person taken to ER will receive treatment, but also risks bankruptcy when the medical bills come in.
This is no solution to the problem of the uninsured, and Romney acknowledged this in his book No Apology:
After about a year of looking at data — and not making much progress — we had a collective epiphany of sorts, an obvious one, as important observations often are: the people in Massachusetts who didn’t have health insurance were, in fact, already receiving health care. Under federal law, hospitals had to stabilize and treat people who arrived at their emergency rooms with acute conditions. And our state’s hospitals were offering even more assistance than the federal government required. That meant that someone was already paying for the cost of treating people who didn’t have health insurance. If we could get our hands on that money, and therefore redirect it to help the uninsured buy insurance instead and obtain treatment in the way that the vast majority of individuals did — before acute conditions developed — the cost of insuring everyone in the state might not be as expensive as I had feared.
In a 2007 interview, Romney also describes such use of the Emergency Room as a form of Socialism:
“When they show up at the hospital, they get care. They get free care paid for by you and me. If that’s not a form of socialism, I don’t know what is,” he said at the time. “So my plan did something quite different. It said, you know what? If people can afford to buy insurance … or if they can pay their own way, then they either buy that insurance or pay their own way, but they no longer look to government to hand out free care. And that, in my opinion, is ultimate conservativism.”
Mitt Romney–secret Socialist or just another right wing imbecile? We report, you decide.
Update: Reportedly Romney was joking about the windows on airplanes Unfortunately he was serious about his health care comment.