Romney endorses “socialism” on 60 Minutes in yet another flip-flop

You can only flip flop so much before you start tripping up badly.

Mitt Romney’s latest? He just endorsed “socialism” last night. Which probably won’t go over too well with the GOP base two days after Romney declared in his federal tax forms that to him America was a “foreign country.”

You see, five years ago Mitt Romney told Glenn Beck that letting the uninsured get free health care via emergency rooms (which is what our country does) is “socialism.

“And in a 2007 interview with Glenn Beck, Romney called the fact that people without insurance were able to get “free care” in emergency rooms “a form of socialism.”

“When they show up at the hospital, they get care. They get free care paid for by you and me. If that’s not a form of socialism, I don’t know what is,” he said at the time.

As HuffPost notes, Romney was singing a completely different tune last night on 60 Minutes:

Downplaying the need for the government to ensure that every person has health insurance, Mitt Romney on Sunday suggested that emergency room care suffices as a substitute for the uninsured.

“Well, we do provide care for people who don’t have insurance,” he said in an interview with Scott Pelley of CBS’s “60 Minutes” that aired Sunday night. “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. And different states have different ways of providing for that care.”

So the new “conservative” Mitt Romney is now in favor of “socialism.”

I seem to remember, during the health care reform debate, hearing that we pay four times as much for people to go to emergency rooms than what we’d pay if we simply helped them get insurance, government or otherwise.

So, Romney isn’t entirely wrong. It is a form of socialized medicine having the government insure health care for everyone who’s uninsured. They do it in Israel, and Romney praised that only a few months ago.

But in America, all you have to do is use a dirty word to describe thing – preferably the word socialist or communist – and everyone screams in horror, even though they don’t usually understand what socialism even is, or what the thing is that’s being compared to socialism (ask the average American to name three things that the dreaded Obamacare actually does – good luck getting two).

But back to emergency rooms, they’re expensive as hell in this country, and hardly a suitable alternative to health insurance. In France, you pay around 27 euros or so for an emergency room visit – that’s about 35 US dollars. And if you have a medical procedure, they charge you more. But unlike the US, they don’t nickel and dime you to death by charging you for every doctor, and every aspirin, separately. It’s one flat rate, and the procedure is another flat rate.

In the US, you pay for everything, and you pay a LOT. I believe I read the average American emergency room visit costs around $1000. (That’s 770 euros, for you foreigners.) And that’s just walking in the door. The price goes up quickly from there.

Were emergency room visits to cost only $35 a person, then I might be more inclined to the Romney point of view (though how do you manage diabetes with regular emergency room visits – and at that point, it’s no longer an “emergency” room if we’re expecting people to go there regularly for non-emergencies – we might as well skip the facade and admit we have nationalized health care and pay 1/4 of the price we pay today).

I was recently in a US emergency room for more eye troubles on a recent weekend (I was concerned I might have another retinal tear, or worse), and I shudder at the bills I’m going to receive.  I also still shudder at the care I did receive from the 1st year resident who didn’t appear to have a lot of hands-on experience dealing with actual living human eyeballs (my eye hurt for a week after).  (My eye is fine.  It did have a small tear, that the resident didn’t see – my doc, who was willing to see me on a Sunday morning, did see it, and fixed it.)

We’re #1.


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Google+. John Aravosis is the editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown (1989); and worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, and as a stringer for the Economist. Frequent TV pundit: O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline & Reliable Sources. Bio, .

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