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Monday, September 24, 2012

Romney Wrong on Emergency Medical Services and Health Care- Bill Kristol Acknowledges President Obama Inherited Financial Disaster

Two take-aways from the weekend presidential campaign news cycle- (a) Conservative Bill Kristol says President Obama really did inherit a financial disaster and (b) Governor Romney told Scott Pelley how emergency medical services is the safety net for acute medical care.  

Dear Governor Romney, Emergency Medical Services is expensive!  Don't expect EMS to be the safety net for acute care when you intend to revise Medicare and Medicaid- because EMS, as we know it, won't be there at the end of your reforms.

Governor Romney wrongly spoke on 60Minutes with Scott Pelley about how reforming Medicare can save it.  Why fix something that's not broken?  

Medicare is a health insurance policy, many experts are available to recommend actuarial adjustments to the system.  Moreover, don't expect emergency medical services to pick up the pieces when the health care system won't be able to handle the capacity of an aging population if capped health care reimbursement becomes a barrier to health care.

Reforming Medicare does not mean that Emergency Medical Services will be availabe to transport people who need access to acute care.  Among the many mis-statements Romney made on 60 Minutes, he should be held accountable for leaping to the assumption that emergency medical services will be the safety net between sick senior citizens, poor people and death.

Not only is EMS not the right medical care for critical care but the Governor wants to reform Medicare and Medicaid- a source of reimbursement for EMS!  In fact, there won't be any EMS available if senior citizens and poor people must pay for transport with vouchers. EMS is not bundled into any payment system that I know of, so any reform of Medicare or Medicaid will likely exclude emergency care, unless it's trauma related.  I sincerely hope EMS providers get involved in educating their communities about how wrong minded it is for the safety net to acute care services to be supported by emergency medical services- it's expensive, it's not preventive, it's not what emergency medical services providers are trained to do. Assuming EMS will be there as the point of access to acute care, this will require insurance companies to guarantee payment- including Medicare and Medicaid.  It's important for media to point out how wrong Romney was on answering this question.
WASHINGTON -- 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."

On the political front, the weekend news shows were loaded with skeptics with advice for Governor Romney- including conservative pundit Bill Kristol, editor of the Weekly Standard.
Republican Bill Kristol admits President Obama turned around the financial meltdown of former President Bush "pretty well".

Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol says that Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney is going to have a tough time winning if the election is a referendum on President Barack Obama’s first term. “If this election is just about the last four years, that’s a muddy verdict." The conservative columnist told Fox News host Chris Wallace on Sunday "Bush was president during the financial meltdown, the Obama team has turned that around pretty well,” he explained.

Romney was aggressive on the 60-Minutes interview, but his responses were loaded with huge assumptions that sounded like schemes he concocted to win the presidential election.  

Perhaps the most telling remark Romney gave on the Pelley interview was when he admitted it was his decision to speak about 47 percent of Americans as being "victims".  
Romney: That's not...that's not the campaign. That was me, right? I-- that's not a campaign.  Pelley: You are the campaign--
Romney: I've got a very effective campaign. It's doing a very good job. But not everything I say is elegant. And I want to make it very clear, I want to help 100 percent of the American people.

So, the bottom line is that Romney knows he is the campaign and his response to Pelley about his leadership is the only true comment the Governor can stand behind.  Yes, he is the campaign and it's not going well.  There's no reason to believe his leadership as a President would be any different.  

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