The Worst Conservative Lie About Health Care
Conservatives have been lying about health care for a long time in America. You can go back to the creation of Medicare and many of the right-wing arguments we hear today wouldn’t be out of place. Socialism! Communism! The death knell for American medicine! On and on and on.
Recently, of course, the conservative lie machine has been in overdrive in its attempt to derail reform. Thanks to Barack Obama and Democrats in congress, backed by the Supreme Court, the conservative nightmare of health insurance for poor and middle class Americans has been realized.
My colleagues at Media Matters have documented practically every lie to come down the pike on this issue. Some of them (death panels) are like zombies, returning from the dead even when you stick a stake in their black hearts.
But the worst lie, in my opinion, isn’t just about reform, but rather about the very nature of health care in America.
Conservatives love to say that nobody will be refused medical care in America. This is a lie. Sure, if you come into an emergency room in dire straits, no humane doctor or nurse will deny you care. But conservatives “yada yada” over the fact that so many of our fellow citizens wait until their health is at the emergency stage before they seek help.
There is a group of Americans who don’t have the luxury you and I have of making an appointment with their doctor when they feel a little discomfort in their arm, their chest, their leg, whatever. The quickie doctor visit and prescription you pick up at the corner pharmacy takes on a whole other huge financial dimension when you don’t have health insurance. The insulin for my diabetes costs me $20 under my health care plan. If I didn’t have insurance it would cost about $130. That’s just one medicine, for one month. If you don’t have health insurance, $130 isn’t peanuts. And that’s for a relatively mild ailment like diabetes.
God forbid you need to see a specialist.
And yes, again, the emergency doctors will help you when you get to a crisis point. But — and I can speak from recent family experience on this — you will have a giant bill hanging over your head, and the hospital will get you out of there in the quickest, most humane time possible.
Generally speaking, if you’ve had to go to the hospital for emergency care, you will need medical follow-up. Again, if someone doesn’t have insurance, is forced to let a condition reach the emergency stage — how are they to afford a follow-up?
And then they end up in emergency care again.
And guess who pays that bill? We do.
So by denying these people — our fellow citizens — health insurance, just ends up costing us more than if we provided care up front. Not to mention the immorality of making someone reach the emergency stage before they can be looked after.
The idea that everyone in America is okay because you won’t be refused emergency care is the biggest lie the right tells about this issue.
March 5th, 2015