Health care: the real scandal

The Rod of Asclepius came from the Greeks. But the Silk Road exhibit would suggest modern medicine really began with Muslims.
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Again the Obama campaign, or at least a close ally (too close?), runs an ad about Mitt Romney. This time they say he let someone die, and doesn’t care. Again the ad tells lies. And again Mitt Romney’s people don’t know how to answer it. If they want to talk about health care, they should mention the real scandal. And it isn’t that a laid-off worker told some fibs about his wife’s death. It’s that he, or any man, should have to depend on third parties for health care, or any other good or service.

The Joe Soptic health care story

Joe Soptic once worked for GS Industries. That was one of the few companies that Bain Capital tried to save, but could not. In the ad by Priorities USA Action, he complains:

I don’t think Mitt Romney understands what he’s done to people’s lives by closing the plant. I don’t think he realizes that people’s lives completely changed.

When Mitt Romney and Bain closed the plant, I lost my health care, and my family lost their health care. And a short time after that my wife became ill.

I don’t know how long she was sick, and I think maybe she didn’t say anything because she knew that we couldn’t afford the insurance. And then one day she became ill and I took her up to the Jackson County Hospital and admitted her for pneumonia. And that’s when they found the cancer, and by then it was stage four. It was, there was nothing they could do for her.

And she passed away in 22 days.

I do not think Mitt Romney realizes what he’s done to anyone, and furthermore I do not think Mitt Romney is concerned.

The Star of Life, symbol of health care

The Star of Life, featuring the Rod of Asclepius, the true symbol of medicine. Photo: US Department of Transportation

FactCheck.org found many lies the ad tells, and things the ad holds back. Mitt Romney wasn’t at Bain Capital when GS Industries went bankrupt. Worse yet, Soptic’s health care policy at GS didn’t even cover dependents. Mrs. Soptic had health care coverage through her own job, at the local Saver’s store. When she lost that job, then she lost her health care coverage. That was in 2003. She died of the cancer in 2006. Three years is not “a short time” in any person’s book.

Conor Friedersdorf at The Atlantic Online has a worse problem. Barack Obama, he says, has no room to talk about Mitt Romney causing an innocent person to die. As Friedersdorf sees it, Barack Obama has ordered the deaths of hundreds of innocent people. How? By changing the rules of engagement on the CIA’s drone strike program. Those rules are brutal: shoot on sight, and to kill.

Yesterday afternoon, Fox News recalled something else about Joe Soptic. He starred in an ad by the Obama campaign in May. The law does not let political campaigns coördinate their efforts with other companies or organizations that support them. An aide to the Obama campaign said she didn’t know Soptic. That’s a lie. In May, she hosted a conference call in which Joe Soptic told his story. He also told several details that he left out of the Priorities ad.

The real health care problem

But those are not the real health care problem. And Mitt Romney’s people do not yet understand how to answer lies like these. Why did Andrea Saul say that, had Mrs. Soptic lived in Massachusetts, she could have gotten health care through the state system that then-Governor Mitt Romney put in place? Hello! The people do not want to trade one third party for another! Exit health care carriers; enter government. Besides being unconstitutional, that’s one reason people want to turn Barack Obama out of office!

The real problem is the history of subsidies and regulations that now make health care much too expensive. If we got our food the way we get our health care, we’d need insurance to put food on our table. Worse, the government wouldn’t let us grow our own fruits or vegetables, or let a farmer bring his goods to a local farmer’s market. Family farms wouldn’t exist; the government would allow only megafarms, and subsidize these. We’d get our food only from an approved store, and from one of a few companies that the government would let put the food in those stores. And the price would be out-of-sight for anyone who wanted to buy his own.

And come to think of it, food is going the way of health care.

The American people could stand even that (while they sought to fix the problem), except that unemployment is the new normal. And whose fault is that? None other than that of the man now holding office as President. The reason that any people don’t get checkups until their cancers are too far gone is that they can’t get jobs. Last month our economy didn’t produce even enough jobs to handle a growing population.

That’s how Mitt Romney and his people should answer charges like these. Simply saying that a particular story isn’t true won’t do. If the story were true, that only shows that the health care system is broken, that Progressive policies broke it, that Barack Obama did not fix it, and that Mitt Romney can.