Truth And Consequences

by digby

This must-read report in the New England Journal Of Medicine lays out the facts about the cost to society in lost lives, productivity and money for failing to assure that everyone is covered by health insurance. And the costs of treating them late in preventable emergency situations is far, far higher than it would otherwise be. This should be obvious, but it's not.

The conservatives frame this problem in contradictory terms, arguing both that people ARE covered and that it will cost us too much to cover them. They further insist that people shouldn't be allowed to free ride on the system, that there should be no mandate to buy insurance and that any government administered health system is an infringement of their freedom. But these various ideas are just a smokescreen.

It's quite obvious that what they truly believe is that people who don't have insurance should not be allowed to get health care and that if they get sick they should be allowed to die unless they can find some charity or raise the money. There's no other way to reconcile their beliefs.

If conservatives believe this, they should say so instead of framing the issues in terms of whether or not we're going to "young and dynamic" vs "middle aged and secure" as David Brooks deceptively does in his column this morning. If you think that people who don't have health insurance (or the means to pay cash) should be barred from getting medical treatment, then you should be willing to make that argument up front. I would guess that there are more than few people in this country who believe just that. People who have insurance.