Posted October 16, 2012 at 8:00 am, in From the USW International President
Billy Koehler died on March 7, 2009, for lack of health insurance. Mitt Romney said on Oct. 10, 2012, that’s impossible.
The Republican nominee for President told The Columbus Dispatch newspaper last week:
“We don’t have people that become ill, who die in their apartment because they don’t have insurance.”
Technically, that’s true of Billy Koehler. He didn’t die in his apartment. He died in his car. Koehler suffered cardiac arrest and perished slumped over his steering wheel at a stop sign in Pittsburgh because he didn’t have health insurance and didn’t have $60,000 to replace his implanted defibrillator.
Romney, a quarter-billionaire born with a silver foot in his mouth, has shielded himself from the world in which America’s many Billy Koehlers exist. Their paths don’t naturally cross. Billy Koehlers don’t hang out with Romney’s NASCAR owner pals. Billy Koehlers don’t disparage the nation’s elderly and impoverished at fundraisers in the homes of private equity moguls. FDR and JFK made an effort to understand the joys and hardships of the non-rich. But Romney hasn’t. And that’s why he so carelessly called America’s Billy Koehlers a deliberately dependent underclass, albeit one comprising 47 percent of all citizens. Because Romney knows nothing of the lives of the nation’s Billy Koehlers, the Republican nominee can dismiss their medical predicaments as nonexistent and assure wealthy donors he won’t “worry about those people.”
Romney told the Columbus newspaper that no one needs to worry about those lacking health insurance because federal law requires hospitals to treat emergency cases:
“We don’t have a setting across this country where if you don’t have insurance, we say to you, ‘Tough luck, you’re going to die when you have your heart attack.”
“No, you go to the hospital; you get treated; you get care, and it’s paid for, either by charity, the government or by the hospital.”
Logically, then, the solution would be for no one to buy insurance. Why bother? Hospitals must treat and bill someone else, according to Romney.