On 60 Minutes last night, Mitt Romney told Scott Pelley he does too have a solution to the problem of America's millions of uninsured citizens: Send them to the emergency room.
"Well, we do provide care for people who don't have insurance," Romney said. "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."
Problem solved! No, wait. The opposite.
The saddest part is the Romney knows this isn't a viable solution to the health care crisis. After all, he said so himself on numerous occasions.
The Huffington Post quotes a Morning Joe interview from two years ago in which Romney said it "doesn't make a lot of sense" to have millions of uninsured Americans who get "entirely free care" with "no responsibility" from emergency rooms, especially when those people "have sufficient means to pay their own way."
And in his book, No Apology, Romney recalls the "collective epiphany" that lead to the creation of Romneycare: "The people in Massachusetts who didn't have health insurance were, in fact, already receiving health care [from emergency rooms]."
Under federal law, hospitals had to stabilize and treat people who arrived at their emergency rooms with acute conditions. And our state's hospitals were offering even more assistance than the federal government required. That meant that someone was already paying for the cost of treating people who didn't have health insurance. If we could get our hands on that money, and therefore redirect it to help the uninsured buy insurance instead and obtain treatment in the way that the vast majority of individuals did — before acute conditions developed — the cost of insuring everyone in the state might not be as expensive as I had feared.
Never before has a man had so much to gain from reading his own book.