The Spectacle Blog

Sir Richard Peers Out the Window

By on 12.22.09 | 3:52PM

Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen fancies himself an expert on health care because his wife has been seriously ill. He says that while being in her hospital room,

I would sometimes drift to the window and look out over a city with several million people and wonder: What do they do? What do they do if they have no health insurance?

Yes, indeedy. Royalty often looks out the window and wonders about the little people.

But he understands the limits of government. He writes,

Ben Nelson did get special privileges for Nebraska, and Mary Landrieu got goodies for Louisiana. Carl Levin got a little something for Michigan; and New York, Pennsylvania and Vermont all found something under the Senate's Christmas tree. There are mysterious provisions in the bill to favor this state or that, this hospital or that -- but no money went into the pockets of members of Congress, so this is not corruption as we know it. It just smells the same.

His hubris shows when he repeats all the myths that have been used to sell this monstrosity. "Only in America can sickness send you to the poorhouse." Jeeez. Maybe he doesn’t know that people in most European countries actually have higher out-of-pocket costs than Americans do.

But it gets worse. He writes,

Behold the uninsured. Look at them in their terror. See their faces as they are denied coverage for preexisting conditions or their looks of despair because they cannot afford insurance at all. Watch them ignore symptoms of sickness, pass up examinations or wait, often for hours and hours, for free medical services.

What? People don’t wait for care in Europe and Canada? Hellooooo! And this notion of denials for pre-existing conditions is getting really tiresome. That applies solely to new applicants in the individual market. Which means almost nobody. Yet that little item has driven this whole push to change health care for every single American.

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