Doctor Jim DeMint Recommends the Most Expensive Form of Healthcare

If we’re going to spend taxpayer money to provide healthcare, we ought to do so in the most expensive, wasteful manner possible according to former senator and Heritage Foundation president Jim DeMint.

Heritage president and former South Carolina senator Jim DeMint continued his campaign to convince Republicans to shut down the government in a ploy to defund the Affordable Care Act on Wednesday, telling a town hall in Tampa, Florida that “This might be that last off-ramp to stop Obamacare before it becomes more enmeshed in our culture.” The law “is not about getting better health care,” he continued. Uninsured Americans “will get better health care just going to the emergency room.”

There was a time when the Heritage Foundation fully embraced the fundamental principles of Obamacare, but now the president of the sham think-tank is recommending that you seek treatment that will be far and away more expensive than the alternatives.

DeMint may be able to afford a hundred dollar Aspirin with his million-dollar salary, but the rest of the country will go broke.

Conservatism is a mental illness.

  • Badgerite

    ‘Enmeshed in our culture’? He means before it actually goes into effect and people can’t help but notice that there are no death panels, that all the statistics related to health care and the federal budget improve and that they might actually have been, you know, lied to a lot by the GOP.

  • Kylopod

    It isn’t just expensive and wasteful. It is also unhealthy and dangerous for the patients themselves to have to wait till their health problems become an emergency before they are treated. People die because of this aspect of our health-care system. Cancer and other illnesses aren’t treated until it’s too late. I have a brother who had a close brush with death at age 35 after a severe epileptic seizure that landed him in the emergency room for several days. It could have been prevented if doctors had noticed he’d needed an increase in the dosage of his medicine, but this didn’t happen because he couldn’t get health insurance on account of his pre-existing condition. At least he survived; many others in this country have not. There’s something fundamentally inhumane about the “just use the ERs” argument, apart from the blatant hypocrisy of simultaneously crying about socialism and debt. It’s the equivalent of a shoulder shrug in the face of a serious crisis that harms millions of Americans.

  • Jason E

    I would take the mental illness comment a bit further. The obsession with wealth in this country is at the root of almost every political disagreement we have. Clearly those that have achieved it don’t want a bunch of poor people mooching off them. That part is pretty easy to understand. But there seems to be this fantasy amongst the poor, that they too may be wealthy some day. And when that day arrives the last thing they will want do is pay a bunch of taxes that will benefit the poor. We’re like a bunch of house slaves protecting or masters house from the field slaves and our masters show their appreciation by beating us and feeding us shit.

    • Christopher Foxx

      But there seems to be this fantasy amongst the poor, that they too may be wealthy some day.

      Seems to be? Something like 50% of the country believes that they can get into the top 2%.

      • Felonious Grammar

        That 50% has no idea what the wealth of the 2% looks like. They think of the upper-middle class with big houses and nice things, rather than wealth significant enough to buy a small country.

  • Nefercat

    It may be true that ERs have to treat you. What criminally ignorant and irresponsible goat molesters like Romney and DeMint never address is the fact that they don’t have to treat you for free!

    Will they write off your bill if you can’t pay? Sure, maybe, but they are not required to, and even if they do, your credit rating may have been destroyed in the meantime.

    And so we all get to pay all the collection expenses also.

    • KanaW

      Not only that, but the care they must give is only palliative – how many times has someone simply been given pain killers and told to go see their regular doctor the next day?

    • Felonious Grammar

      And hospitals and clinics have been doing the dirty deed of arranging meetings between a judge and their collectors for non-payment but not informing the debtor. The judge orders a bench warrant on the debtor, then the hospital collectors ask that the court put the fines toward the hospital bill. This practice may have been stopped, but it happened enough. Ruining people’s credit and criminalizing debt is antithetical to social and economic health.

      • SEPA_Q

        IIRC, the number one cause of bankruptcy filings is medical bills.

  • Norbrook

    Besides the incredible cost of an ER visit, he seems to be blithely ignoring that the reason health insurance rose so much was that insured patients were subsidizing that “free healthcare.” Not to mention clogging up ER waiting areas reducing care for … emergency patients.

  • GrafZeppelin127

    Somebody needs to explain to the fiscal/economic/financial geniuses on the right, that trying to prevent the uninsured, the poor, and anyone else who can’t afford it from receiving medical care, particularly in emergencies, would be far, far, FAR more expensive than insuring them.

    The fact that the ER is so expensive is a symptom of this. Having millions of uninsured people walking around with tens of billions’ worth of uninsured medical risk, is costing us more than it would cost us to just give them all full medical insurance.

    Years ago I had this discussion with a conservative (not right-wing) friend who asserted that he did not want a Democrat to win the next election because he did not want to pay more in taxes for any national universal or quasi-universal public health insurance system. I said, “Before we continue this conversation, answer me this: Do you actually believe that the fact that we don’t have universal public health insurance in this country doesn’t cost you money?” He was about to say yes, and he eventually did, but he had to pause as if he had never thought about that question before.

    This is what the “I-got-mine-eff-you” crowd doesn’t get. They think they’re saving more in taxes by not having a universal public health insurer than they would save by not having the cost of uninsured risk and uncompensated care built into the price of everything they buy.

    • blackdaug

      It’s the same mindset that has them howling about raising the minimum wage, while tax money has to be diverted to food programs because Walmart and ilk don’t pay their employees enough to live. Try pointing out to them the most enlisted personnel in the military are eligible for food stamps and watch their heads explode.
      The problem is, their core understanding of functional western economic systems are so flawed and simplistic they will fall for any line implying they are getting ripped off in a zero sum game.
      Health care is the most subsidized game in town, but being run by corporations, who make money off the inefficiencies inherent in it …incentivizes them to continue those inefficiencies.
      The government is a major component of all aspects of the economy, cut off its direct impact, and it just pops up somewhere else, except uncontrolled and managed primarily by greed.

    • Felonious Grammar

      They also seem to think that by paying for their insurance they are paying for their health care. That private and public insurance are both betting pools seems to elude them.

  • Ipecac

    I have diabetes. It was diagnosed seven years ago over a series of visits to my doctor after I started to experience symptoms I didn’t understand. It was caught early, so my doctor put me on medication which manages my sugar levels without insulin.

    Had I not had health insurance and access to regular doctor visits, I would not have gotten an early diagnosis. You can’t go into the emergency room because of itching in your extremities. Emergency rooms don’t prescribe diabetes medicine.

    Basically, I would have been forced to wait until the disease became especially problematic, and likely have had to have something, like a foot, amputated. Which, by itself, would have cost many times more than everything I’ve paid to date in managing the disease. Not to mention the additional huge economic cost if I lost my foot. And those costs would have fallen on everyone.

    That conservatives don’t want to understand that simple fact says a lot about the kind of people they are and their priorities.

    • Christopher Foxx

      Their priorities are (and always have been) clear: Fuck you.

      (Their level of understanding is (and always has been): It’s not a problem for me, so it can’t possibly be a problem for you.)

      • Nefercat

        Or, it’s not a problem for me, so it really doesn’t matter if it’s a problem for you.

        • Christopher Foxx

          Better phrasing that I came up with.. Thanks, Nefercat.

    • Felonious Grammar

      I have care with the V.A. A few years ago, I found myself unable to walk or stand. I made an appointment with the local V.A. clinic and did my best to avoid the costs of the emergency room, but when I couldn’t stand up with a cane, I started to cry. That was my cue. I spent about six hours in the emergency room of the local hospital, then was transferred to the research hospital in Portland via ambulance. From there I was sent to the V.A. hospital. The hospitals are physically and operationally connected. My neurologist worked for both.

      The ambulance ride was $1200. The ambulance company would not bill the V.A. I ended up paying for the ride out of pocket to keep them from dinging my credit, and was reimbursed later.

      After being diagnosed with MS, I went to some MS forums and met people who have MS and no insurance. The medications to mitigate MS are phenomenally expensive. The V.A. negotiates rates, but most HMOs don’t. I cannot imagine. It is horrific to contemplate.

      Like a lot of people, I had symptoms for a few years before it was identified as MS. A lot of people with yet to be identified MS are sent to psychiatrists, because that’s somehow cheaper than an MRI. Insurance companies and HMOs pervert our health care system so much that the urge to tear it all down is understandable. But we have to deal with reality.

      If I need to go to an emergency room again and can stop the bleeding and breathe, I’ll pay my own money to take a cab to Portland before I let the V.A. pay $1200 for a ride. I don’t pay anything, but it’s not free.

      Obama cares if citizens live or die and has done what he can to provide. These Republicans are hateful bigots who don’t care about anything but money— they know the price of everything and the value of nothing.

  • D_C_Wilson

    The Heritage Foundation didn’t fully embrace it, they invented it!

    What terrifies them now is that it may actually work and the party of the evil Kenyan atheist Muslim Marxist nazi usurper will get the credit.