Thursday, July 5, 2012

Thanks for Being Honest

DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz [emphasis mine]:
When it came to championing the health care legislation, President Obama made sure that al though everybody -- the vast majority of Americans have health insurance coverage, we want to make sure that if you're a free rider, if you roll the dice and get sick and use the emergency room as your primary access point for health care. Those health care costs are going to get shifted to all of us. And if you choose not to carry health insurance, this legislation says you're going to pay a small penalty so that we don't have to pay for you rolling the dice.
Wrong answer, Debs.

You're not just penalizing emergency room users who refuse to pay their bills, you're penalizing EVERYONE, whether they pay their bills or not.


  1. The real "free riders" are the immigrants who use out emergency rooms and have no intention of ever paying because they will never make neough money to pay for most modern emergency care. The way to prevent free riders is at the border. Everyone else gets a bill from the hospital and the hospitals MAKE them pay, just like any other bill collector. Nothing is "passed along" except, of course, medicare, medicade and military health costs cince the government chooses to pay less in reimbursements than the services cost.

  2. Doesn't the original problem stem from the fact that hospitals are forbidden by law to refuse service to anyone that makes it to an emergency room?

  3. Not original problem, but closely tied to it. Some hospitals got around that by closing their emergency rooms and instead operating "emergent care facilities". Evidently, changing the words get them out of the law. But the fact is, most doctors would not want to let a patient die on their doorstep just because they were poor. They would prefer to stabilize the patient and send them to a charitable hospital. Preferebly one in CUba where teh costs are free.

  4. A lot of the problem stems from the fact that low-actuarial risk populations---like, say, young men who aren't married, can't get catastrophic coverage policies based on their actual risk since we insist on making them subsidize higher risk groups if they actually want coverage (e.g. single women, pregnancy is expensive even w/o complications). Every time you meddle, you must meddle three times as much to cover for the response of those you meddled with in the first place.