Romney: People Don't Die at Home Because They Lack Insurance

The White House and liberal critics beg to differ
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 11, 2012 6:02 PM CDT
Mitt Romney speaks on Oct. 8 in Virginia.   (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

(Newser) – A comment from Mitt Romney on health insurance is making waves, especially among critics on the left. Speaking to the Columbus Dispatch editorial board (in all-important Ohio), Romney sought to convey the notion that sick people wouldn't be left high and dry with the repeal of ObamaCare. His quote:

  • “We don’t have a setting across this country where if you don’t have insurance, we just say to you, ‘Tough luck, you’re going to die when you have your heart attack. No, you go to the hospital, you get treated, you get care, and it’s paid for, either by charity, the government, or by the hospital. We don’t have people that become ill, who die in their apartment because they don’t have insurance.

It's that last part getting the most attention:

  • White House: If Romney understood middle-class struggles, "he wouldn’t claim that no one in this country dies because they don’t have health insurance when, in fact, experts estimate that 26,000 people die prematurely every year because they don’t have coverage." See the Hill for more on that.
  • ThinkProgress: Emergency rooms don't cut it as a last resort. "Hospitals may treat patients for emergency medical conditions regardless of legal status or ability to pay, but patients with chronic conditions that don’t require emergency interference are often unable to access needed care," writes Rebecca Leber. She cites a study putting the yearly death toll as a result at 45,000.
The Note blog at ABC News thinks Romney might have actually shifted his position on pre-existing conditions in the interview, and The Week has more background and context on Romney's statements. (Read more Mitt Romney stories.)

My Take on This Story