Romney publicly criticized the Obama Administration’s Affordable Care Act in an interview on Sunday with Scott Pelley of CBS. Romney stated, “we do provide care for people who don’t have insurance,” referring to emergency room care. “If someone has a heart attack,” he elaborated, “they don’t sit in their apartment 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.” Does he have a point? It depends on where you stand on the issue. Certainly most sides recognize that the emergency care system has not only been used for emergencies—or life threatening heart attacks as Romney points out–but for uninsured children to be treated for the flu or for any array of ailments when a person lacks adequate healthcare coverage. For critics of The Affordable Care Act (including Romney) emergency care remains an option, although the would-be President vows to overhaul the Act and make it cost effective and viable.
Proponents however, were quick to jump on Romney’s current stance on The Affordable Care Act as it seems to be a direct contradiction of past comments. The Obama camp even went as far as releasing a Web video which illustrates Romney making an opposing remark in 2010. The video slams Romney saying that he “knows ER treatment is expensive and inefficient, so why does he say it’s a solution now?” Consequently, Romney is treading in a bit of hot water over his remarks. His contradictory views are indeed well documented from 2010, when he said, “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, particularly if they are people who have sufficient means to pay their own way.” At that time he pointed to the use of routine trips to the emergency room for non-life threatening healthcare, as a problem.
Romney’s team was quick to counter the controversial remarks highlighting the “disastrous” Obama reform. His team released a statement describing the Affordable Care Act as a “costly disaster” and promising “common-sense, patient-centered” healthcare changes under President Romney. Does Romney have the right to change his mind given his plans to overhaul The Affordable Care Act which he deems a “costly disaster?” Critics would say no. Further, it’s no secret that ER care is very expensive for hospitals. Historically they incur grave losses.
However, it’s election season–Romney’s team might not have too much damage control ahead of them. Romney’s recent statement doesn’t necessarily sink him. This issue is so tender that exactly which candidate is in hot water at any given moment is a guessing game. Nevertheless, Romney’s campaign spokeswoman did not mince words. Amanda Henneberg statement read: “Governor Romney made a statement of fact, that Americans without health insurance are still able to receive critical care, including in some cases through emergency rooms,” Henneberg said. “It is an absurd misreading of his comments to imply that he offered emergency rooms as a ‘solution’ to our nation’s healthcare challenges.”
Is it indeed an absurd misreading of Romney’s statement? If you ask Romney, the Obama plan needs critical care. Obama will likely say that Romney needs his head examined. What do you think?