Health Policy Advisor Steps In It On Health Care

As the Census Bureau reports that California has the highest number of uninsured people, and Texas has the highest percentage of residents, a McCain adviser utters some remarkably strange analysis:

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 [the McCain camp distances themselves], 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."

That was easy. Except, there's a few problems. For one, as DrSteveB points out:

"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."

For another, as Ezra Klein notes, this is the equivalent of Phil Gramm calling anyone concerned about the economy a bunch of whiners. Why? Because health care access isn't a McCain concern.

"This is what we call a Kinsleyan gaffe: A mistake that reveals the truth. John McCain's health care plan is, by the admission of his own advisers, not particularly interested in the problem of the uninsured. It doesn't try and cover them or address their plight, and for a very simple reason: Conservatives in general are not interested in the problem of the uninsured."

McCain's plan is all about reducing costs. McCain got in trouble over that back in April, in fact.

You gotta love this headline (unless you're a Republican).

McCain camp working out healthcare details
Aides struggle to sort out his promises

Yet another problem is the unavailability of Emergency Room capacity to handle today's patient load, let alone tomorrow's or what recession brings as people lose their insurance.

U.S. hospital ERs overwhelmed, one-day study finds

The report from the House of Representatives Oversight and Government Reform Committee, released to coincide with a hearing on Monday, shows emergency rooms in Washington and Los Angeles operating over capacity on an ordinary day. None could have handled a surge of new patients.

But never mind all that. The idea that a stroke of a pen, an executive order, could in any way address the health care issues this country faces by reclassifying the problem away is the most remarkable piece of nonsense governing since George W. Bush was President.

Third Bush term, indeed. How on earth can we survive 4 more of the previous 8 years? Millions of Americans won't. And that is a national disgrace.

Reported by Daily Kos by DemFromCT