At long last, have you left no sense of decency? (The most important fact that Obama can point to tomorrow night)
Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?
— Joseph N. Welch, head counsel for the United States Army while it was under investigation by Joseph McCarthy‘s Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations for Communist activities, an investigation known as the Army-McCarthy hearings. Spring 1954.
Shortly after the Denver debate two weeks ago, I wrote here that I thought it was critically important for Obama to not only illustrate, using Romney’s own words and his campaign’s own acknowledgment right after the debate, that Romney’s plan regarding healthcare insurance for people with preexisting medical conditions was the status quo, but also to tie that in directly with Romney’s “47 percent” speech at fundraisers. (And, yes, that probably was his standard speech at fundraisers, not something he said just at that one.)
I said in that post that Romney’s misrepresentation on such an important issue—literally, one of life and death in some instances—demonstrates his utter disregard for anyone who’s not wealthy.
I mean, really; what, in heaven’s name, kind of person has such little regard for others that he’s willing to play a semantics game—y’know, it depends on what the meaning of “plan” is—in order to mislead people about something of that sort?
As I said in my earlier post, many of Romney’s misrepresentations at that debate succeeded either because he was using common words in a misleading way or because he was making representations of fact that the public lacks the expertise to recognize as false.
And two things the public does know is that you can’t get medical treatment for most illnesses, nor can you get standard diagnostic tests for most illnesses, at a hospital emergency room. And that you do receive medical bills—sometimes ones that, for people who have no multimillion-dollar annual income from Bain Capital ties, may be prohibitive—from treatment in an emergency room or in, say, an operating room after arriving at an emergency room.
And a third thing the public knows is that some people who have no healthcare insurance do die prematurely because they failed to get a timely medical examination and resulting treatments because they had no access to them at all, or because they feared, say, the loss of their home because of the resulting bills.
So it’s terrific that since the Denver debate, Romney, as Paul Krugman details today, has said otherwise.
It’s one thing to try to fool people about what you mean when you say, for example, that as president you won’t decrease the “share” of taxes paid by the wealthy. As the last two weeks has shown, you can get away with that as long as you don’t explain that, by “share,” you mean the percentage of income of the taxpayer relative to the percentage of income of other taxpayers, not the amount or the proportion of tax revenues that one income bracket’s taxes will comprise. Twenty percent of $40,000 is $8,000. Twenty percent of $1 million is $200,000. As in, a 20% across-the-board reduction in tax rates.
But it’s quite another thing to try to fool people about something that doesn’t depend upon what the meaning of “is” is, or on what the meaning of “plan” is, or on what the meaning of “share” is—and that they themselves actually know is false. Just plain, flat-out false.
But here’s betting that most of the public doesn’t know that Romney actually made the statements he’s made about the uninsureds’ access to healthcare. They need to be informed of this. They need to be informed of this.
And although most people will get it without an illustration, Obama should offer this illustration, nonetheless: Could Ann Romney really have learned of her breast cancer by showing up at an emergency room and requesting a mammogram? Could she then have had the surgery and other, ongoing treatments? And if so, would she not then have received a bill that, for her family, would amount to pocket change but to most families would amount to financial catastrophe?
And then he should offer this illustration: When Ann Romney began having the symptoms that lead to her diagnosis of multiple sclerosis, could she have just shown up at the emergency room for a diagnosis? And for the intensive, ongoing treatments for it that have put her illness into sufficient remission to enable her to speak day after day about her husband’s kindness and caring nature, and about his ability to “fix” things?
The importance of Romney’s recent healthcare-access claims goes well beyond the obvious. Pointing just to those instances, Obama can illustrate this fundamental truth: Not only does Romney have a deep-seated disdain for ordinary people, but he views them as simply tools to be manipulated. At an absolute minimum, this guy is the quintessential coward.
Yes, a coward. His modusoperandi is that of a con artist. And he’s doing this even about the most fundamental matters, such as preexisting medical-condition coverage.
And, as Steven Rattner details in a New York Times op-ed piece today, about a veritable slewof other critical matters.
So I end with the quote with which I began, and with the reference to the person quoted: Joseph N. Welch:
Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?
Obama could do worse tomorrow night than to use that quote.
I take it that your objection to Romney’s sense of decency is his lies, not the policies themselves? Understanding that there is a sizeable proportion of the voting public who either can afford decent health insurance or like Romney can simply pay for medical care out of his “walking around” money, who do not want to contribute one thin dime to the health care costs of their less fortunate fellow citizens. While I would be apprehensive of the outcome, I would like to see Romney state it that bluntly–“I would see to it that the Federal government gets completely out of the business of reditributing tax dollars to people who otherwise could not afford any health care”. Of course, I would expect Obama to say “We are going to use the Federal governments power to tax to see to it that every American has at least a minimal amount of health care with an emphasis on preventive care.” Of course they are both politicians so nothing of the sort occurs and we end up with abominations like the BFD a/k/a Affordable Care Act which please no one other than the corporate interests.
Also, how “decent” is a person who wants to avert a 20-25 percent cut in meager Social Security benefits in the 2030s by scheduling a cut in Social Security benefits by 20-25 percent? Rich folks might not need the money in retirement, but most recipients rely on that monthly check–which is owed to them! Once again, Romney sees only wealthy people.
Does anyone have the medical expertise and the medical billing expertise to come up with a rough estimate of how much the treatment of Ann Romney’s maladies (breast cancer and MS) would have cost out of pocket with no insurance? Assuming that an average Joe off the street with no insurance could get pay-for-service treatment at the cheapest clinics (since neither of those would be treated by an ER in any case), would would the bill be? That’s a number I’d love to know. Mitt Romney’s argument is essentially that the ER is there for everyone, and if you happen to come up with chronic conditions, well he can figure out how to pay down the equivalent of an additional mortgage, right? That shows how out of touch he is BOTH oh healthcare AND wealth.
I don’t see much point in out meaning the meanies.
I can’t guess the cost of Mrs. Romney’s care, except to guess between 6 and 7 figures, but a relative was in hospital for a week recently (no surgery) and the bill was about $37,000.
This didn’t include the ambulance ride and a number of other bills she is still receiving.
That’s about 0.003 of Romney’s 2011 income, but hey, who’s counting?
The surgeon who operated on me billed United Healthcare at ~$3,100 and was paid sllightly less than $900. Without insurance, you would be liable for the $3,100. I am waiting to see what the anesthesologist ($1260) gets from United. Another doctor(?) billed at $3,100 and was paid slighly less than $150. Between two of the doctors, you see $6200 and a payout of ~$1050.
Now what happens when you have no insurance and do not qualify for Medicaid. The patient gets stuck with it, struggles with the payment, ducks the hospital and eventually the bill collectors, and we make up the payment in the end in added cost.
This is not what Ann had; but, you get a pretty good idea of what the costs are and I am sure there is a nice discount for cash and name-recognition. The PPACA is not perfect; but, it is the best we have today. Did anyone atch this 55 minutes John Gailbrath talk on Naked Capitalism? It goes into the same issues . . . http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2012/10/john-kenneth-galbraith-on-the-moral-justifications-for-wealth-and-inequality.html and why the rich in income and wealthy favor little social assistance.
I agree; but, Obama can not be Romney’s steppin and fetchin boy again. A little Malcom X attitude would go a long way. He has to stick up fr his beliefs.
Is that the same Steve Rattner who was looting public employee pension plans, and the same Steve Rattner who screwed over GM bond holders to give the company to the UAW.
Oh, THAT Steve Rattner.
Maybe you can explain to me, rusty, why exactly the bondholders—y’know, the vaunted capitalist risk-takers-jobs-creators—were entitled to have their INVESTMENTS underwritten (i.e., bailed out) by the government, but the autoworkers were not entitled to retain any of the deferred compensation promised to them over the years?
Then again, maybe you can’t.
In other words, run, the uninsured are subsidizing the insured. Or are going bankrupt because they’re being required to try to subsidize the insured.
Only in America. Literally.
I’m not sure why you think it’s mean to point out those facts, min.
I would note that one can buy a card that gets one the insurance discounts now. (its around 250 a year or so). From the insurance companies point of view the larger the group they negotiate for the better deal they can get. Look for healthcare discount card. One would assume that Romney would have such a card at a minimum being supposedly financially savy.
Oh, no, Lyle. I think Romney’s legal residency–voting address–is still in Massachusetts. He and Ann are insured. They have Romneycare!
“government paid” may be the best we can do.
even “forced by the government to buy insurance from the free market” (irony intended) may be the best we can do.
but i would prefer that people buy “insurance”, even if they have to use the government to make it work decently.
the difference is that if the people are paying for their own insurance they will have some connection with the reality of health care costs and not live in the fantasy of “someone else should pay for it,” or have to endure the risks and humiliation of in fact having someone else pay for it.
but the government needs to be involved because that’s the way people provide oversight to keep themselves from being robbed by the “providers” and the “insurance” companies — quotes inteded to call attention to the fact that the insurance companies don’t actually provide insurance but the illusion of insurance.
sorry if this is not clear. i have gone on about it at some length before and didn’t seem to get anywhere.
which leaves us stuck between the poor demanding the rich pay for it, and the rich demanding that they don’t.
…if the “insurance” for health care is understood to include “insurance against not being able to pay the premium” a flat rate “tax” like Social Security could solve the problem entirely
except i suppose, for some “treatments” of dubious value that we, the workers, would not want to pay for our fellow workers, not all of whom we agree with.
Most of us tend to see our own reflection in politics. It is “critically important” for our guy to reflect our concerns and to attack the other guy in ways that appeal to us. If, by some chance, our concerns are a close match to those of undecided voters in swing states who are very likely to vote, then OK, I guess it’s critically important. Otherwise, “gratifying” is probably closer that “critically important”.
People who think about issues in depth aren’t all that much like people who were waiting to see who had the snappiest lines to decide who to vote for. The candidates are fishing in the shallow part of the pond at this point. Candidates are, for good reason, focused on the shallowest of matters because they are fishing for the shallowest voters.
If Obama can sell the notion that Romney’s plan is to leave issues of life and death to chance, that’s great, but that sale has to be made with emotion, not reason and fact.