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Mitt Romney flip-flop of the week
Last comment by sebekm 2 years ago.

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NPR posted-It's not so much what Mitt Romney said about whether the government should guarantee people health care in his interview on CBS's "60 Minutes" Sunday that has health care policy types buzzing. It's how that compares to what he has said before.

To back up a bit, Scott Pelley asked the former Massachusetts governor if he thought "the government has a responsibility to provide health care to the 50 million Americans who don't have it today?"

Responded Romney:

"Well, we do provide care for people who don't have insurance ... if someone has a heart attack, they don't sit in their apartment and — 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."

That was basically Romney's way of saying that people who don't have insurance can always go to the hospital emergency room.

Yet in 2010, in an appearance on MSNBC, Romney said almost exactly the opposite: "It doesn't make a lot of sense for us to have millions and millions of people who have no health insurance and yet who can go to the emergency room and get entirely free care for which they have no responsibility," he said at the time.

That's because back then, Romney was defending the Massachusetts law he signed as governor. It's the one that requires most people to either have health insurance or pay a fine. Just like the federal law he now vows to repeal.

He used even more colorful language back in 2007, talking to Fox News host Glenn Beck. "When they show up at the hospital, they get care; they get free care paid for by you and me," he said. "If that's not a form of socialism, I don't know what is."

But in addition to flip-flopping, Romney is missing a key fact about the uninsured and emergency room care, says health policy professor Harold Pollack of the University of Chicago. Just because hospitals are required to see patients in the emergency room doesn't mean that care is required to be free.

"The emergency room is perfectly entitled to send you a whopping bill," said Pollack. "And there are many people across America who are facing significant financial problems from serious bills that they've received for emergency care."

It's only when the uninsured don't — or can't — pay those bills that the costs come back to the taxpayers. Pollack also says that Democrats and Republicans largely agree that emergency rooms are wholly inappropriate places for most people to get healthcare.

"It's just about the least cost effective way you can get your medical care. And we also have really damaged the institution of emergency department care by expecting it to take on these burdens it's not really designed to assume; to provide primary care to low income people," he said.

Romney is always quick to say he still supports the law he signed in Massachusetts. He simply doesn't want to require other states to do the same thing. But one of the continuing ironies of his health care position is that it was hundreds of millions of federal dollars that made the Massachusetts health law feasible. Under a Romney administration, other states likely wouldn't get a similar chance.

Latest Activity: Sep 25, 2012 at 6:43 AM

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up2sumptin commented on Tuesday, Sep 25, 2012 at 07:24 AM

I don't see a flip flop. Romney said that you shouldn't be able to go to the E R and get free health care rather than have insurance and go to their pcp. Anyone who had to go to an E R knows that it is filled with people who have minor complaints that can be handled in a doctor's office. Romney then said that if you had a real emergency, such as a heart attack, whether or not you have insurance you should be seen. No where did he say that would be a free service. This is in line with what is occurring in most ERs across the nation, under BHO's watch. Go to the ER here with no insurance and a minor complaint. You will bed expected to pay up front or you will not be seen.

Iknowyou commented on Tuesday, Sep 25, 2012 at 07:58 AM

We have become a Welfare Nation, it seems like everyone wants another handout.

golfnut31316 commented on Tuesday, Sep 25, 2012 at 15:31 PM

I don't see the flip flop....

sebekm commented on Tuesday, Sep 25, 2012 at 15:43 PM

It isn't - he just answered two related questions directly.

*The first response basically said that there already was a "system" in place which provides health care for people without insurance. But the important thing to note is that:

-Romney didn't create the "system"

-He wasn't endorsing the "system"

-He wasn't promoting the "system"

He was just describing the way things are.

*In the second instance, his statement basically says even though that's the way the system is, IT DOESN'T MAKE A LOT OF SENSE (from the standpoint of the taxpayer) to have a "system" which enables all of these people without insurance being able to get free medical care on the taxpayers' dime.

One can disagree with his position on both questions (I don't), but it's not a "flip-flop" per se. It's addressing two different aspects/questions relating to the same topic: the administration and form of "free" healthcare to Americans without health insurance.

This relates to the issue Jimmy has raised on this site before: should I not be my "brother's keeper?" I think to an extent our social programs are designed to provide aid and assistance (a "helping hand") to our fellow countrymen/women who can't provide for themselves. But my problem comes when that helping hand becomes a way of life - an open-ended blank check which ever-increases and is fraught with waste, fraud and abuse.

JimmyMack commented on Tuesday, Sep 25, 2012 at 17:25 PM

Hi Sebe. "Thanks" for pulling me in to this one! You know where I am going to go with it. Romney doesn't care about the "other" 47% of the nation. He's about more deregulation, tax cuts for the rich, turning a blind eye towards Wall Street and insider trading, gutting the Food Stamp program(dem babies dont's need to eats), and more than anything else: outsourcing jobs to increase the wealth of the already wealthy.

sebekm commented on Tuesday, Sep 25, 2012 at 17:57 PM

Hi Jimmy: Yes, I know. But my only point was that the basic premise of the blog is flawed: what is described IS NOT a "flip-flop." It's just two statements on two related aspects of uninsured health care that is part of the debate. But I see no inconsistency in what is quoted in the basic blog post.

Speaking of debates, we'll soon be treated to this election's batch. I can't wait. It might not be as entertaining as last night's ending between SEA and GB, but it could be close. I'm reminded of the lyrics to a classic 60s tune that I'm sure you know as well as I which describes most presidential debates:

"Sitting on a sofa on a Sunday afternoon

Going to the candidates' debate

Laugh about it, shout about it

When you've got to choose

Every way you look at it you lose."

Sounds like Mr. Simon was predicting the future, no? In the follow-on lyrics, Simon laments the departure of "Joltin' Joe." So he couldn't be talking about THIS year, could he? Joltin' Joe is still here, as the testimony provided by Mrs. Biden the other day clearly demonstrates:


PoliticsNation commented on Tuesday, Sep 25, 2012 at 18:30 PM

Everyone's starting to see the light!It's not to late to get on board..

President Barack Obama is leading with some groups of the electorate that I didn't expect. According to a new Zogby poll, the president is beating Republican Mitt Romney by 7 points with NASCAR fans. The Huffington Post has more: (The Giro)

NASCAR team owners may count Mitt Romney among their friends, but that doesn’t mean fans of the sport will necessarily vote for him, according to an online poll from JZ Analytics.

Barack Obama led Mitt Romney by 7 points, 49 percent to 42 percent, among the 202 voters who said they were fans of NASCAR, according to the survey, conducted by pollster John Zogby and spotted by the left-leaning PoliticusUSA blog. The president had an almost 9-point lead among the full sample of voters.


timeontarget commented on Wednesday, Sep 26, 2012 at 14:53 PM

I don't really believe that most Nascar fans support Obama.

I'm a devoted NASCAR fan and I don't know any NASCAR fan who supports Obama.

Please write your own thoughts and stop trying to promote your positition by posting a referance to something posted by someone else at some other time in space.

Say what you think.

Sorry for any negative feelings but we are all having too much fun in our attempts to "one up" each other and consquently we fail to dig to the real meat of the issues of current events.

sebekm commented on Wednesday, Sep 26, 2012 at 15:06 PM

Sometimes the "real meat" has already been dug to. To link to it is only a convenience. I personally assume that when somebody provides a link they are trying to point out something to me that is probably better said (or already said) by somebody ELSE. Just because somebody else has already said it doesn't mean that the "meat" hasn't been "dug."

up2sumptin commented on Wednesday, Sep 26, 2012 at 15:07 PM

What do you think is the "real meat" of the issue TOT??

sebekm commented on Wednesday, Sep 26, 2012 at 15:57 PM

It sees to me that the "meat" of this issue is that the polls say Obama is leading among NASCAR voters (Zogby says 48%-41%) and some of us don't want to admit that possibility.

JimmyMack commented on Thursday, Sep 27, 2012 at 16:12 PM

Sebe: your independtly fair analysis of issues always amazes me. I did not know of the Zogby poll but as a true independent you posted it!!!

I've always thought that as long as the Nascar fans, for the most part, remembered Hilary's 'stand by your man' comment that there wasn't a chance in Hades to ever garner any of their votes.

Life is strange.,,,

sebekm commented on Thursday, Sep 27, 2012 at 17:23 PM

I think Hillary has gotten a greater appreciation for "stayin' home and baking cookies" since she made that statement. But I must confess that as President of these United States, she looks a lot better to me today than she did four years ago. I used to be concerned that electing her would (God Forbid) put Bill Clinton back into the White House. But now that doesn't seem like such a bad thing....

Hey! Speaking of Hillary and lookin' better - I just stumbled across this Harper's Bazaar cover that I had never seen before:


JimmyMack commented on Friday, Sep 28, 2012 at 13:41 PM

Dem be some bodacious ta-ta's!!!

up2sumptin commented on Friday, Sep 28, 2012 at 18:14 PM

4 shame jimmy lol

timeontarget commented on Friday, Sep 28, 2012 at 18:15 PM

Oh yea been there and done that'


Now we're older.

Better get serious.

sebekm commented on Friday, Sep 28, 2012 at 18:50 PM

"Dem be some bodacious ta-ta's!!!"

....or do they be some Dem bodacious ta-ta's?

Also - let's tie 'em in with the basic blog title, and ask the question of the day:

Do Dem ta-ta's = flip-flops?

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