Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney is in more hot water today after he told 60 Minutes that uninsured Americans can simply go to the emergency room:
ROMNEY: 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. Some provide that care through clinics, some provide that care through emergency rooms
But during the 2008 debates with his Republican colleagues, he thought differently. During the Reagan Library debate on January 30th, Romney sounded off on why he overhauled his state’s health care system to discourage people from going to the emergency room for care:
ROMNEY: And we said: You know what? If somebody could afford insurance, they should either buy the insurance or pay their own way. They don’t have to buy insurance if they don’t want to, but pay their own way. But they shouldn’t be allowed to just show up at the hospital and say, somebody else should pay for me.
And so we said: No more free riders. It was like bringing “workfare” to welfare. We said: If you can afford insurance, then either have the insurance or get a health savings account. Pay your own way, but no more free ride.
It seems like Romney can’t make up his mind. Should the uninsured go to the emergency rooms or not? Is it a huge problem that people in many states have no choice but to go to crowded hospitals at the last minute or not? Romney’s message on health care seems to have devolved into one of nihilism, in the short course of only four years.