False Compassion

October 16th, 2012
Ryan recently showed up in a photo washing pots at a homeless charity. What a guy, right? Selflessly serving the poor. But wait—something smells fishy. Ryan is a Rand devotee; serving others like that is an evil to someone like him. Oh, right. He wasn't actually helping the homeless, or serving a charity. He was faking it:
The head of a northeast Ohio charity says that the Romney campaign last week “ramrodded their way” into the group's Youngstown soup kitchen so that GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan could get his picture taken washing dishes in the dining hall. Brian J. Antal, president of the Mahoning County St. Vincent De Paul Society, said that he was not contacted by the Romney campaign ahead of the Saturday morning visit by Ryan, who stopped by the soup kitchen after a town hall at Youngstown State University. “We're a faith-based organization; we are apolitical because the majority of our funding is from private donations,” Antal said in a phone interview Monday afternoon. “It's strictly in our bylaws not to do it. They showed up there, and they did not have permission. They got one of the volunteers to open up the doors.” He added: “The photo-op they did wasn't even accurate. He did nothing. He just came in here to get his picture taken at the dining hall.”
Well, at least he washed a few dishes, right? Um, no. The dishes he “washed” were already clean. But at least his boss is actually compassionate, right? After all, he instituted that Romneycare program which provided insurance for a lot of poor people. And he's proud of it. I think. Maybe. Or was that last week? Hard to tell, it's like the wind direction changing. We need a RomneyVane. But Obamacare, that's an abomination. How dare Obama do for the nation what Romney did for Massachusetts! Nope. Obamacare has got to go, and Romney has vowed to deprive tens of millions of Americans of health care the moment he steps in to the Oval Office. Sorry, poor people. That money is needed to pay for a fraction of the ginormous tax cut for wealthy people. You need jobs, after all, right? And we all know that a five-trillion-dollars-over-ten-years tax cut will create zillions of jobs, right? An accurate statement, as “zillions” is not a real number, just as jobs created by tax cuts are not real, either. So, what will poor people do for health care? Not to worry, Mitt has a safety net to catch them:
Sunday on CBS'a 60 Minutes, Romney gave a hint about what he would replace Obamacae with. Scott Pelley asked him: “Does the government have a responsibility to provide health care to the 50 million Americans who don't have it today?” Romney replied “Well, we do provide care for people who don't have insurance, people-- we-- if someone has a heart attack, 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.” Pelley was taken aback. He told Romney “That is an expensive way to do it…. in the Emergency Room.” Romney responded: “Different, again, different states have different ways of doing that. Some provide that care through clinics. Some provide the care through emergency rooms. In my state, we found a solution that worked for my state. But I wouldn't take what we did in Massachusetts and say to Texas, ”You've got to take the Massachusetts model.“
This idea is not new; one could call it ”The Republican Option,“ as Republicans have been suggesting the ER as a health care option for some time now. Essentially, it says, ”we're not going to provide health care, and the states may or may not leave you to die.“ Paul Krugman has a little bit of data for Romney. Not to suggest that Romney is interested in data or anything. But you might be interested:
Even the idea that everyone gets urgent care when needed from emergency rooms is false. Yes, hospitals are required by law to treat people in dire need, whether or not they can pay. But that care isn’t free — on the contrary, if you go to an emergency room you will be billed, and the size of that bill can be shockingly high. Some people can’t or won’t pay, but fear of huge bills can deter the uninsured from visiting the emergency room even when they should. And sometimes they die as a result. More important, going to the emergency room when you’re very sick is no substitute for regular care, especially if you have chronic health problems. When such problems are left untreated — as they often are among uninsured Americans — a trip to the emergency room can all too easily come too late to save a life.
A doctor followed up on that:
It’s true that EMTALA [the 1986 law requiring that emergency rooms treat you regardless of insurance status] requires a medical screening exam and stabilization of any emergency medical conditions. It does not, however, mandate admission to the hospital for treatment of conditions that are not currently emergent (e.g. cancer, kidney disease, and other more chronic conditions except related to certain complications). For example, if someone were to present to one of our emergency departments with some mild bloating and be found to have an abdominal mass, they may very well be discharged home for outpatient follow-up and treatment. If that person doesn’t have insurance, they will likely have difficulty obtaining that care.
So, got it, poor people? You no-good, parasitic 47-percenters? You're covered for a heart attack, so long as you're willing to dodge the debt collectors, but if you have anything that is not currently bleeding or gushing, you're on your own. Cancer? Too bad. Tumor? Live with it. Or not. Liver problems? What, do you think this country is made of money or something? Go to your corner and wither, you pathetic loser. If you didn't make it in the free market system, you don't deserve help from it—because America is nothing more than the free-market system. You should be thankful that Paul Ryan took the time to pretend to wash a few pots for you, you ungrateful wretch.

  1. Troy
    October 16th, 2012 at 12:42 | #1

    “By law, emergency care cannot be withheld,” [Romney] wrote. “Why pay for something you can get free? Of course, while it maybe free for them, everyone else ends up paying the bill, either in higher insurance premiums or taxes.”

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/wp/2012/09/24/romney-was-against-emergency-room-care-before-he-was-for-it/

    and here’s me checking LAX -> NRT airfares . . .

    Quite simply, PPACA is the only reason for me to stay in this country this decade, it’s my prime protection and defense against our sky-high medical care system between now and when I’m eligible for Medicare two decades hence.

    And an electorate so stupid as to elect Romney is stupid enough to fear. My only excuse for coming back to this country is that I came back in 2000 when Clinton was still running things and everything was apparently running pretty well!

    (Though in retrospect the writing was on the wall even then as the conservatives were busy running the country into the ground via their control of Congress since 1994 but I was pretty apolitical back then and didn’t understand what had really been happening in the 1990s)

    And what’s worse is that the Ryan budget plan actually pushes my Medicare eligibility to age 67, and turn the program into a voucher towards the cost of a plan, a double whammy since Medicare still only covers 80% after the deductible.

    If PPACA isn’t going to be around in 2014 like it’s supposed to be, I’ll be leaving in 2013.

    If I could, I’d like to check out Sweden for several months, to see how life there compares to Japan.

    (I just jumped from LA to Tokyo in 1992 with almost nothing in foreknowledge, other than 2 years of half-assed study of Japanese and an uncertain entré at the place we worked at.)

    Sweden’s probably got its own problems tho. For one thing, it’s about at the latitude of Alaska! That’s pretty weird right there.

  2. Luis
    October 16th, 2012 at 13:56 | #2

    I rewrote the paragraphs immediately after the Romney quote, after I realized I misread the last part, that he would not suggest Massachusetts’ system for Texas. Although if you consult the RomneyVane, you’ll find that he has suggested that states make their own health care plans, and has recommended Romneycare, so essentially he has recommended his own plan to all other states, and that does amount to virtual Obamacare. But we all know that Republican aversion to the ACA is primarily just opposing anything Obama tries to put through.

  3. Troy
    October 17th, 2012 at 03:12 | #3

    “A coalition of 15 states, including Colorado, Wisconsin and Virginia, filed a supporting brief for Ohio on Friday, encouraging the court to block the 6th Circuit’s ruling. They said Ohio had not placed a burden on citizens’ ability to vote by eliminating the three early voting days.”

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/10/16/us-usa-campaign-ohio-voting-idUSBRE89F14F20121016

    “Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin”

    http://www.ohiolibertycoalition.org/states-rally-behind-ohio-election-laws/

    scary times. The willingness to disenfranchise people is a real slip down the road to totalitarianism. The Republican party is literally going to destroy my country this decade or next, as if their Iraq misadventure hasn’t already done enough damage to our fisc and international power position.

    And yes that’s a Godwin.

    Obama’s shaping up to be another Carter in the scheme of things. Not that I think he’s necessarily going to lose next month, but that’s the way things are going now. If Romney can pick off WI or OH — or IA and NV — he’s won, at least going by this map:

    http://www.electoral-vote.com/evp2012/Pres/Maps/Oct16.html

    The good news is that I’m house-sitting for the next two weeks so if I can keep my nose in xcode I’ll be able to miss the rest of this horrible election cycle.

  4. Tim Kane
    October 17th, 2012 at 08:13 | #4

    Troy:

    Keep in mind, Clinton pointed out at the convention, that repeal of Obama care means that Medicare will be bankrupt by 2016 – BEFORE the end of a Romney first term.

    I am with you on the emigration thing. I don’t want to live in a country this stupid and self destructive. The nation is more than twice as productive as it was when the current arrangements were made for Social Security and Medicare. If we could pay for it then, we could pay for it now. The political tension, in my mind, is palpable as people keep thinking that voting movement consevative republicans into office doesn’t have any consequences. This is a mind boggling stupidity.

    The 1%ers use ideology to hood wink (the willing to be hoodwinked) people. Ideology, adhered to, ALWAYS leads to nihilism. There’s no avoiding it.

    This weekend, if not sooner, I will be actively applying to jobs in Korea. I’m hoping for a position in Busan in the instant case – it’s 5 to 10 degrees warmer than the rest of Korea, faces Japan, so I can visit another country once in a while on weekends. My health care insurance cost me $42 a month when I lived there. I also love the dynamic of being of two countries. But mostly, I can’t bare the narrow minded stupidity of Americans.

    As if this article were necessary: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/14/opinion/sunday/the-self-destruction-of-the-1-percent.html?pagewanted=all

    Concentrated wealth has caused the collapse of Civilizations, Empire and Great Nations, to wit: Ancient Egypt’s New Kingdom, Rome, Pre-Islamic Mecca (Islam is, in part, a reaction to concentrated wealth), Byzantium (in the run up to the Battle of Manzikurt), Medieval Japan, a half dozen Chinese dynasties, Hapsburg Spain, Bourbon France, Romanov Russia, Coolidge/Hoover America (triggering the rise of Hitler, WWII and the Holocost) and Bush II America.

    A Romney defeat will pull America away from ideology. An Obama win, coupled with a modest recovery will make movement conservatives unelectable in 2016, and if it’s Hillary in 2016 they are out on their ear until 2024 in the earliest.

    A Romney victory will solidify and consolidate the victory of the 1% that Bush introduced. Consider Romney to be to the 1%ers what Queen Elizabeth was to the Protestant movement in England, and Bush what Henry VIII. The Reformation was reversable when Elizabeth came to power, but her long reign made the change permanent. In this case, the Wealthy will be so empowered and the middle class so eviserated that the change will be complete. So, if I feel I have to, I’ll vote with my feet.

    If I had a choice though, I think I would move to Europe, including Sweden, or especially Sweden. That’s a rational but still western, society.

  5. Troy
    October 17th, 2012 at 08:33 | #5

    The nation is more than twice as productive as it was when the current arrangements were made for Social Security and Medicare

    indeed, here’s per-worker real-GDP since 1950:

    http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/graph/?g=bSj

    too bad “the 1%” are sucking up nearly all the productivity gains!

    In this case, the Wealthy will be so empowered and the middle class so eviserated that the change will be complete.

    Yup. They’ll swap out Kennedy and Scalia, and we might lose Ginsberg. If the Dems hold the Senate they’ll wait for the next election to do this, since they might finally retake the Senate again.

    (I do expect 2013-2014 to be something of an engineered recovery, as if Romney wins the system will gin up some bullshit like it did 2002-2004 to give the semblance of a stronger recovery.)

    including Sweden, or especially Sweden

    yup. I was tooling around Stockholm in google streetview, and it looks OK. The nordic countries have an odd problem of people using their middle-class incomes to borrow tons of money to bid up the price of homes — this issue is a big problem in all the advanced quasi-Eurosoc states — Canada, Australia, Sweden, and especially Denmark and Holland.

    But all those countries are otherwise pretty decent bug-out alternatives.

    Japan might also be. Dammit, theoretically they shouldn’t be doing as bad as they are.

    They own $1.1T of US treasury debt, the historically-high yen is killing them, giving them some leeway in expanding the yen supply domestically to get wealth-accreting industries and ideas going again.

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