Many people will admit that they never appreciate good health until they are sick or injured, and if they do fall ill, their first thought is getting immediate treatment to alleviate their discomfort. For people fortunate enough to have healthcare insurance, their first point of consultation is a primary care provider who can diagnose and treat their condition, and more than likely provide guidance for how to prevent a recurrence unless their health issue is an injury. It is a tragedy that in the richest country on Earth, there are 50-million Americans whose only contact with a healthcare provider is in a hospital or clinic emergency room, and as is often the case, a primary care provider could have prevented a trip to the emergency room and a staggering medical bill that the patient or the taxpayers are saddled with.
During the healthcare reform debates, angry teabaggers and Republicans revolted against the idea that all Americans had a right to affordable healthcare, and despite passing both houses of Congress, President Obama’s signature, and the Supreme Court, presidential candidate Willard Romney pledges to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) on his first day in office. The Republican argument is that the ACA is too expensive and a government takeover of healthcare even though several agencies determined that it will save taxpayers billions of dollars, provide the insurance industry with 30 million new policy holders, and give tens-of-millions of Americans access to affordable healthcare insurance.
On Sunday, Romney was asked if the government had a responsibility to provide health care to 50 million Americans who don’t have it, and he replied “we do provide care for people who don’t have insurance,” and proceeded to explain that emergency room visits are healthcare. In 2010, when he was asked if he believes in universal healthcare he said “it doesn’t make a lot of sense 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.” Romney’s supports the principle argument for the individual mandate in the ACA and it’s no wonder because it is included in the universal healthcare law he signed while governor of Massachusetts. Romney explained how he determined it was prudent to require Massachusetts’ residents to carry healthcare insurance in his memoir.
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