"I would say though ... there really is no lack of health care. If people really need it, if they show up to the emergency room, they do get care, it just gets passed on to other folks."
Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.), a member of the far-right House Freedom Caucus, talked to CNN's Erin Burnett this week about health care, and his intention to kill the Affordable Care Act. The host pointed to a Republican voter, featured on an earlier segment, who'd be dead if it weren't for "Obamacare." She asked for his reaction.DeSantis proceeded to complain about the reform law anyway, before turning to a familiar GOP refrain:
The host pointed to the fact that woman in question had $1 million in cancer treatments, adding, "You're not going to get that by showing up in an emergency room."DeSantis then changed the subject.And while that was probably a good political decision, the fact that Republicans are still, even now, turning to the refuge of the "show up at the emergency room" argument is just stunning.As regular readers may recall, this pops up from time to time -- remember when Mitt Romney used it shortly before the 2012 election? -- but it hasn't improved with age.Let's set the record straight again. It's true that in the United States, the system has long allowed the uninsured to receive emergency treatment at public hospitals' emergency rooms.It is, however, extremely expensive to treat patients this way. It’s far cheaper -- and more medically effective -- to provide preventative care to insured people so that people don’t have to wait for a medical emergency to seek treatment.For that matter, as DeSantis mentioned, when sick people with no insurance go to the E.R. for care, they often can’t afford to pay their bills. Those costs are ultimately spread around to everyone else -- effectively creating the most inefficient system of socialized medicine ever devised, which makes it that much more unusual that the Freedom Caucus member touted this model as if it has merit.What's more, emergency rooms tend to be great at treating emergencies, but those needing chemotherapy can't exactly stop by the e.r. and say, "My Republican congressman sent me."I realize GOP lawmakers are feeling a little desperate when it comes to health care reform, but for everyone's sake, they'll have to do better than this.